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SCOTUS and Hutchinson: The Howard Baker Moment Has Arrived

Gorgan (Courtesy startrek.com)

The Howard Baker moment is here. It has been a longtime coming. It is not an exact repeat of original Howard Baker moment. At that time, a Republican Senator told the Republican President that it was game over and the President resigned. Hard as it may be to believe today, Baker succeeded because he had the votes in the Senate to back him up and Nixon knew it.

The current version is slower. Think of The Apprentice, the fake reality show that rescued the failed businessman from oblivion. There was a time when the show was gangbusters in ratings. “You’re fired” became part of the national discourse. And then it faded. Little by little the show declined. Finally it reached a point where it was past its expiry date like athletes who do not know when to retire. And then it was gone.

The double-dose of SCOTUS on abortion and Hutchinson to the House Select Committee is doing the same. Combined the decision and the testimony mark an inflection point in the political career of Donald Trump. From this point forward it is all downhill and he knows it. Hence the fuss and urgency about announcing his candidacy for 2024 now. It is a desperate attempt by him to regain the momentum which instead will highlight that he is headed in the wrong direction.

TRANSACTIONAL PRESIDENT

During the Trump presidency, we were introduced to a new concept – transactional. It is not the word was new but that its application was. It made a national policy of the President of the United States asking “what’s in for me?” with the “me” vacillating between the country and himself personally.

Now there were no more alliances. You want America to protect you? What’s in it for me? Countries were expected to ante up if they wanted the United States to shoulder the burden of protecting them. Obviously Ukraine was a money loser so if the Russian invasion had occurred on his watch Trump still would have done nothing even if he was not submissive to Putin. His cost-benefit analysis would have calculated that Ukraine was a big drain on American resources so why support it. Keep in mind this was a Commander in Chief who could not understand why people volunteered to serve in the military forces to begin with.

As it turns out, many people who voted for him also had a transactional relationship with him. They knew he was pond scum slime but he was their pond scum slime who could deliver for them. What he most famously could deliver for them was judges in general and Supreme Court judges in particular. Then with the help of Mitch McConnell, he fulfilled this promise. He did appoint people to the Supreme Court who had no qualms about lying directly to the face of Susan Collins and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Seriously how stupid a human being did you have to be not to know that the Trumptees on the Court would reverse Roe v. Wade as soon as they had the opportunity to do so?

The bargain had now been fulfilled and there is nothing left. People who turned a blind eye to the truth of Trump now no longer have to do so. There is nothing else for him to do. We saw the results in Georgia in 2020. The missing 11,780 votes were found and then some. Approximately 28,000 Georgians voted in 2020 and left the presidential line on the ballot blank. These people had decided to hold their noses no more. They would vote Republican but not Trumpican. The Republican voters Trump alienated in Georgia were the reason he lost the state. The Trumpican candidates in the primaries this year in Georgia did not fare well. His hand-picked Senate candidate is not faring well either according to the polls. Being totally unqualified for the job disqualifies him with enough Republican voters to overcome the alleged value of the Trump endorsement. Unfortunately for Democrats this means non-Trump Republican candidates may win in 2022 where Trump-endorsed candidates will lose.

In any event, it is game over for the transactional supporters of Trump. He has nothing left to offer them and has become a laughingstock criminal instead. Fatigue has set in.

THE INSURECTIONIST PRESIDENT

For the insurrectionist president it is only going to get worse. As the “far-left Marxist” Washington Examiner exclaimed, Hutchinson’s testimony “ought to ring the death knell” for Trump’s political future. He is now on record with the House Select Committee as being “unfit to be anywhere near power ever again.” Apparently Hutchinson was able to accomplish what a million dead Americans due to Covid could not – publicly expose the shortcomings and inadequacies of Disinfectant Donny once and for all. From this point forward it will be easy for Democrats to ridicule Trump ceaselessly in ways everyone can understand.

Plus there is more to come. There are people in the White House past and present whom they public does not know. Journalists with their “sources” may know their names, but We the People do not. Now we know who Miles Taylor is. Now we know who Cassidy Hutchinson is. How many more people like them are there? If you are a twenty-something recent college graduate starting your career in politics with internships and paid-positions at the highest level, do you want to sacrifice your future for an insurrectionist? True you may be the recipient of phone calls and threats from Trump goons, but you can endure them. What about your next job? How many analysts can Foxhub hire to explain that January 6 was either ANTIFA or legitimate political discourse?

It is reasonable to expect more and more disclosures about the truth of January 6 in the weeks to come. Some apparently already have happened. Which of the inner circle will be the Michael Cohen of the insurrection? The avalanche has started and will only pick of speed and power in the weeks to come. The only issue for Garland will be when to indict the former president and not if.

This avalanche of truth my carry forth into Congress itself. As staffers come forth to corroborate Hutchinson’s tale of Trump insurrection, closet Republicans who have kept their heads down and swallowed their pride these past five years may suddenly regain their courage. They have been shown up by a 25-year old. I am not suggesting that Mike Pence will finally man up; let’s not get carried away. But some Representatives and Senators will stand up and be counted. After all, after August they cannot be primaried!

What do we have to look forward to?

More revelations.

More indictments.

More disclosures in ongoing Georgia and New York cases

A “Michael Cohen”

By election time, the three Trumigoes in Arizona running on a stolen election campaign mantra will look as absurd as the “abortion is human sacrifice/demons are transferred via intimate sex” secretary of state Republican candidate in Michigan. It is déjà vu 2010 for Republican candidates all over again.

It is possible to even be optimistic that 2024 will not lead to the destruction of America. It is hard to image Ron DeSantis rallying people to the Capital for a coup.

FINALLY

Way back on August 6, 2016, even before the presidential election that year, I wrote a blog about presidential candidates from New York State. In the blog I wrote about a Star Trek episode:

[In] the Children Shall Lead, the children on an outpost are rendered orphans but display no trauma over the horror of losing their parents. The cause is a beast called “Angel” by them and named Gorgan. The richly-costumed sleekly-haired human-looking monster is skilled in exploiting their  pain to service his gain. He dominates them and in the ways of science fiction takes control of the Starship Enterprise.

Not to worry. Kirk’s dedication to the spirit of Star Trek prevails. His hero and role model is, after all, Abraham Lincoln. He takes back his ship. He takes back his crew. He returns the Enterprise to its rightful path. He defeats the monstrosity that has temporarily commandeered them. In the final showdown between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, Kirk calls on the deceived children to see the ugliness of the monster who led them astray. He tells them:

Without you children he’s nothing.
The evil remains within him.
Look how ugly he really is.
Look at him and don’t be afraid.

With each phrase, the children see more and more of the truth and the image of the monster becomes uglier and uglier. In the end, Gorgan is revealed as the grotesque monster he always was underneath his superficial exterior. As befitting his debased nature, when exposed for the disgusting ugly incarnation of evil that he is, his parting words to his former admirers who now spurn him are:

Death to you all!
Death to you all!
Death to you all!

Thank you Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson. That moment of exposing the truth for all America to see has arrived.

Ketchup on the wall
Dishes on the floor
Grab the wheel
Grab the throat.
Rambo?

Day 4 The House Select Committee and the American Revolution 250th

Don't throw ketchup on my wall! - The true testimony of President Harrison Ford

The actions of the House Select Committee have ripple effects beyond the simple “who done it?” investigations. Before turning to its meaning for the American Revolution 250th, I must digress to an image from the sixth and most recent session. When you heard the story of the President of the United States grabbing for first the steering wheel of the car and then the clavicle of the Secret Agent sworn to protect him, what images crossed your mind?

The first image that came to my mind was not of the immature child-president who throws ketchup on the wall but the heroic President Harrison Ford in Air Force One. He memorably says “Get off of my plane” as he dispatches the Russian foe who had been aided by a traitor Secret Service agent. The other image was of Clint Eastwood wrestling with a renegade Secret Service agent who placed loyalty to the President over loyalty to the Constitution in Absolute Power. I know The Godfather was mentioned numerous times by commentators. When I wrote my first political thriller blog back on January 3, 2021, I had no idea what was to happen.

JIMMY STEWART

Another movie image which has been mentioned was the comparison to Jimmy Stewart in Day 4 of the hearings. The actual person testifying was Rusty Bowers, Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives in Arizona. He came across as a tall dignified taciturn person who delivered the plain-spoken truth. His delivery was to the point of the questions posed to him. He spared no one and nothing in his answers.

Bowers did prove the value of bringing a gun to a gun fight rather than a plastic spoon as the Democrats do. One of his exchanges involved Rudy Giuliani, one the people sure to be indicted by the Department of Justice for his role in the insurrection. Giuliani professed to have information about voter fraud in Arizona. Bowers calmly replied words to the effect of “Show me the evidence.” Bowers called for Giuliani to present the names of the alleged fraudulent voters. Needless to say, Giuliani never provided such evidence because there is no such evidence.

This exchange illustrates the exact technique Democrats should deploy against every claim of a stolen election. Democrats should be challenging every individual Trumpican to “show me the names” every time any of them say the election was stolen. Then they should repeat the charge the next day. Everyone who claims the election was stolen and who is an elected official or running for office should be challenged every day to “show me names” until they shut up or decide to name names as Trump did twice in Georgia.

Bowers elicited two unexpected responses in his exchange with Giuliani. The first is the destined to be repeated in legal and political circles for years to come:

We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.

The second is one that has been overlooked as far as I can tell. The President then urged his lawyer to comply with the request of Bowers. Why did he do that? Did he think that Giuliani really had such evidence and that it would be routine to provide it? In other words, had he fallen for his own con and convinced himself that such evidence really existed? Was he completely susceptible to every claim Giuliani made whereas he repeatedly rejected the words of Barr and everyone else who told him truth? I think a case can be made that by that time he had drunk his own Kool Aid and had become a permanent resident of Coo Coo Land.

One other comment of Bowers stands out for non-legal reasons. Bowers believes the Constitution is “divinely inspired.”

I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to.

For Bowers to be asked to violate his oath to this sacred document was “foreign to my very being.” Even though Donald Trump asked him to violate his oath to the Constitution, Bowers still said he would vote for Trump in 2024 (although he apparently hopes he has an alternative in a robust primary).

Back home, local papers reported on the reaction to the testimony by the Republican Speaker of the House.

Thank Rusty Bowers, but remember these Arizona politicians who tried to thwart democracy
Laurie Roberts Arizona Republic June 21 2022

On one hand, Bowers has been the recipient of cheers in the airport for standing up to Trump. In Arizona the politicians who were complicit in the fake electors scheme and who support Trump’s effort to steal the election denounce him as a RINO. As we just saw in elections last night in Colorado and Mississippi, in some districts at least there still are enough Republicans to outvote Trumpicans in primaries. We will have to wait and see if Arizona is an insurrection state that will rig the vote in 2024.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION 250th CELEBRATION/COMMEMORATION

In a blog on the American Revolution 250th (American Revolution 250th Update June 24, 2022), I wrote about “Foundations of Independence Protest and Communication in Revolutionary America, 1770-2020” conference by Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies. I reported that one concept gaining traction is to view the 250th as a time of commemoration and not celebration. There is a need to include the negative aspects of the American Revolution that have been marginalized. What is not clear is why living in a society that can face negative aspects in its history and revise a national narrative is not cause for celebration as presenter Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware, had suggested. Exactly how many countries do this anyway – expand this national narrative to be more inclusive? The story of the American Revolution should be contextualized. It would be disappointing if the 250th ended up only being a series of parades according to one speaker.

One hopes that part of the contextualization will include comparing the United States at its birth with the rest of the world. How many large multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious countries with no slavery and where all adults could vote and live freely based on their sexual orientation were there in 1776 or 1787 or today? How much did the Declaration of Independence contribute to the very words and ideals later expressed in subsequent social and political movements?

At this point I am drawn to the comments of Bowers. He referred to the Constitution as “divinely inspired.”

Did any of the presenters as this conference share that perception?
Do academics have any sympathy, empathy, or sensitivity for Americans who share such views?
Are academics more likely to refer to the shortcomings in the American Revolution? That America was born in sin? That America needs to redeem itself?

As best I recall, in all the conferences I have attended online or in-person or lectures I have heard both by individuals and history organizations including national ones, there is no one who is reaching out to people who think the Constitution is divinely inspired. My prediction is that the 250th will be weaponized into another culture war conflict between the Woke who disparage America and the Trumpicans who abuse it with the people on Team Normal being ignored.

Day 3: Countdown Continues to Clear and Present Danger in 2024

Dan Crenshaw the Future of the GOP? (M. Scott Mahaskey for Politico Magazines. March 2, 2019)

The countdown continues to a clear and present danger in 2024. The third session of the House Select Committee introduced a new element into the proceedings. So far the bulk of the effort has been directed to establishing a criminal case for the Department of Justice to pursue against the insurrectionists. Part of that effort includes informing the American people of the truth of what happened. This way the pending investigation and indictments will not simply be a “witch hunt” per Foxhub but a legitimate search for justice.

While all that is well and good, it also is looking backward — an attempt to reconstruct the past. It is critical to keep our eye on the future. 2024 will not simply be a repeat of 2020. It will be an enhanced version of that failed insurrection. The Trumpicans have learned from the failure and now are preparing to plug those holes to ensure success. In this blog, I do not wish to recapitulate the ongoing efforts in voter suppression, creation of the army of Trump Goons in selected voting districts, or the election of secretaries of state and/or governors who will prevent Joe Biden from winning their states in 2024 regardless of the actual votes. Instead, I wish to focus on the consequences of that effort no matter how it actually plays out in the vote results.

PROPHET MICHAEL LUTTIG

Sometimes a judge can be a prophet. No, I am not referring to the judges from the Book of Judges but to Michael Luttig, a retired federal appeals court judge and highly respected conservative in legal circles who testified on the third day of hearings. However, he is not well-known to the general public yet alone to the Trumpicans who support the BIG LIE. As a result, the impact of his testimony on them probably is minimal. The impact of his testimony on the DOJ is likely to be more substantial. He augments the words of United States District Judge David Carter on John Eastman’s efforts as “a coup in search of a legal theory”

In his testimony, Luttig asserted that the actions of January 6, 2021, brought the country to the precipice of a constitutional crisis that could have ended the existence of the constitutional republic just before the 250th anniversary of the country’s declaration. In his words, the actions were “tantamount to a revolution.” The rule of law was under direct attack. If the Vice President had succumbed to the pressure from the President and successfully thwarted the peaceful transfer of power, it would have been “the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic.” When I first blogged about political thrillers in movies and books from the 1960s on January 3, 2021 (Seven Days in January: This Time It Is Not a Movie), it never occurred to me that we would be living one in real world to the extent that we are.

Nor that there would be a sequel. Prophet Luttig warned us that the threat to the constitutional Republic remains alive and well, continuing to foment trouble. For the most part we have moved on past the silly scenarios of Biden stepping down and being replaced now or in the immediate future by the “rightful President.”  Of course, no sooner had these words been written than I learned that the Republican Party of Texas at its state convention resolved that:

We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States. We strongly urge all Republicans to work to ensure election integrity and to show up to vote in November of 2022, bring your friends and family, volunteer for your local Republicans, and overwhelm any possible fraud.

So at least the gaze is shifting politically to the upcoming elections.

PREPARING FOR THE DIVORCE

Prophet Luttig’s words are a call to action in the present. The danger exists now and it is building towards an explosion in 2024. The wheels are already set in motion for the chaos he alluded to. It is not a question of if it will happen, but what will be done to prepare for it when it does. What does “it” mean?

The “it” was clearly enunciated by White House counsel Eric Herschmann in an oft-played tape of his testimony about a telephone call will coup-designer Eastman about his plan to have the Vice President rig the electoral count in plain sight to obtain the results Trump wanted:

You’re going to cause riots in the streets.

To which Eastman blithely replied:

There’s been violence in the history of our country to protect the democracy or protect the Republic.

This exchange about what would have happened on January 6, 2021, if Pence had weakened foretells what will happen on January 6, 2025. Eastman has legitimated the right of Biden supporters to take to the street to protect democracy and the republic from a Trump victory. It is unlikely that Eastman intended to do this. Naturally, he meant only the right people have the right riot in the street to challenge an injustice (January 6, 2021) and not that the wrong people (BLM, ANTIFA, Team Normal Americans) have the right to do so if Trump is declared the winner. That subtlety may be lost on people who are opposed to letting the Hitman return to the White House under any circumstances.

In the meantime, we have been reminded vividly of the violence that is in store for America following the 2024 presidential election.

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he received a letter that threatened to execute him, his wife and their newborn. “There is violence in the future, I’m going to tell you,” he said on ABC “This Week.”

The next day, Eric Greitens, one of the “man’s man” beloved by Bone-spur Boy, running for the Republican Senate nomination in Missouri, released a new video saying:

I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, and today we’re going RINO hunting. Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.

This is the political professional wrestling arena trash talk Trumpicans love. As in any cult, it bespeaks the effort to cleanse the cult itself even before attacking others. It also legitimates the effort to go Trumpican hunting in the event Democrats stop bringing a plastic spoon to a gun fight and expect to win.

THE TWO PRESIDENTS BICENTENNIAL

In 1824, there were two claimants to the Presidency – John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Of the five sectional candidates that year, these two emerged in the leading positions. The first party system of Federalists and Republicans had dissolved and the second party system of Whigs and Democrats was being born. While Jackson claimed he had been cheated out of victory that was rightfully his (a questionable claim) due to a backroom deal between Adams and Henry Clay, he accepted the results and lived to fight another day in the 1828 election which he won.

For the bicentennial year in 2024 of that presidential election, we already know that there will be no agreement on the results. No matter what, there will be no peaceful transfer of power from Joe Biden to the Hitman; no matter what there will be no acceptance by the Hitman of another four years in office for the worst candidate ever.

Choices will have to be made.

Will California or South Carolina be the first to secede?
Will the military support the president in the White House or the one in Mar-a-lago?
Who will the world recognize as the American president?
Who will have the nuclear football?
What happens after both are sworn in on January 20, 2025?

The odds on this division being resolved peacefully are slim. More likely are armed clashes in the nation’s capital and in scattered locations throughout the country. The situation will be scary…. Unless we recognize now that the divorce is our future and start to plan for it to minimize the violence.

Day 2: Will Jury Trials Survive the Insurrection if Facts Do Not Matter?

!2 Angry Men (1957) - from a time when reasoning was possible

The jury trail is a bedrock staple of the American democracy. People are very familiar with the phrases “see you in court” or “have your day in court.” It bespeaks the right of every American to have a dispute adjudicated or an action punished through the mechanism of the jury trial. As we were recently reminded, the best free legal advice a criminal can receive is to get the best “trumping-lawyer” you can get.

There is more to a jury trial than simply having one’s day in court. The resolution is not decided by the king or president or any elected magistrate. Normally, it is not rendered by the sitting judge either. Instead the decision-makers are the peers of the defendant. They are chosen from among We the People in that particular jurisdiction where the alleged crime occurred. These peers are then charged by the judge with the responsibility to pass judgement on the merits of the case.

Wait. There is more. How are the people on the jury supposed to discharge this duty? They do so through evidence. During the course of the trial, evidence is presented by both sides for the jurors to consider. The evidence may be testimony from people who are cross-examined during the trial. The evidence may be physical, something jurors can see and/or touch. The arguments of the competing lawyers in the opening and closing are not evidence. However, a lawyer who can construct a more forceful narrative based on the evidence and/or who can do so in a more compelling way, may help the jurors to decide what evidence to accept as true.

To assist in this process, jurors are screened to weed out people with biases one way or another. The goal is to create a jury who can fairly analyze and weigh the evidence to determine what really happened. If people cannot be reasoned with then the whole process collapses.

BARR VS. TRUMP

On Day 1 of the House Select Committee report, we heard the opening argument by Liz Cheney on the crimes committed and how the committee would prove the seven charges against the former President.

On Day 2, the House Select Committee presented evidence concerning the knowledge of the accused that the claim of the stolen election was a big lie. The foremost witness to that presentation was Bill Barr, the former Attorney General to the Hitman.

Barr recounted his various discussions with the Loser about his loss in the presidential election in 2020. According to the video clips shown, Barr uttered some lines that are destined to become part of American legal lore if not folklore.

“He’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.”   

“There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”

We also heard about “Team Normal” in the effort to convince the Loser that there was no fraud and he had really lost. As we know, all these efforts were for naught. While Team Normal pushed its message, Intoxicated Rudy was whispering sweet nothings into the Loser’s ear and those messages were much more palatable.

THE FAILURE WHEN TREATING TRUMP AS AN ADULT

My position for years now has been that Donald Trump is an immature child in the body of an adult. Brain scans will show that certain portions of his brain never developed beyond the stage of when he was a seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck. To understand him one should consult child psychologists, seventh grade guidance counselors, and seventh grade teachers. He never developed a conscience. He has no ethics, He has no morality. He has no sense of right and wrong. There is only whether or not the child will be allowed to play his game for his benefit without being stopped. So far he has a pretty good record of being able to do exactly that.

Barr and Team Normal made the common mistake of treating Little Donee Waney as if he were an adult. They made the common mistake of thinking he was someone who could be reasoned with. But no matter how many times he was told that the election was not stolen and the supposed fraud was bogus, it never sunk it. His mind was never changed. He never challenged the evidence presented, he simply moved on the next “What about this…” in a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole.  As Representative Zoe Lofgren said:

The directly told the president over and over again, they were false. These were his people. This is Trump World, telling the president that what he was saying is false. And he continued to say the same thing.

There was no getting through to him because any attempts at the adult level to reason with him were doomed to failure. The only surprise now is that people still think of him as an adult capable of being reasoned with. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. He has been an immature child for over 60 years and will be one until the day he dies. He will keep playing his game and advise others to do so without knowing or caring about the law or the Constitution because who is going to stop him? He will even con his own followers out of $250 million plus the travel expense of going to Washington on January 6 plus the legal expense incurred for defending their actions in court. What does he care? It is all about him.

Here we can see the appeal of Ridiculous Rudy with his intoxicated rantings. He never drew a line a sand. Quite the contrary, he constantly fed more and more outrageous claims into the ear of the immature child. Rudy enabled the game to be played longer. No adults in the room. No Team Normal. Just people playing into his delusions where facts do not matter to a mind incapable of understanding them. He could never grasp what Bill Barr was telling him; he could only move on to the next item. With Rudy, he never was confronted with reality. For the immature child, it was a dream come true. Just keep playing the game until someone stops you.

THE FATE OF JURY TRIALS

Imagine you are selecting jurors for a trial. Suppose you are confronted with candidates who are:

QAnon
Anti-Vaxxers
Stolen Election believers
Ivermectin users.

Would you want such people analyzing evidence rendering judgment on you? How about as a surgeon or a pilot or anything that involved critical thinking skills? Do you think anyone who participated in the insurrection now realizes that there was no there “there” and that they were conned? Do you think the Trumpican voters in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Nevada and elsewhere now realize that the election was not stolen but that their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name was the one who tried to steal it? Do you think the testimony of Bill Barr and Team Normal has any more effect on Trumpicans then it did on Trump himself? Can I sell you a bridge in Brooklyn?

How can a jury system survive where facts are irrelevant?

How can a jury system survive when only what you want to be true matters?

How can a jury system survive when jurors lack the ability to think or choose not to?

I do not know the answer to these questions, but the example of a New Mexico Republican election board refusing to certify results in a Republican primary because they feel uncomfortable with machine results is an example of how trumpism is metastasizing throughout the country. Jury trials may be one of the causalities.

Day 1: Cheney Skewers Trump – DeSantis Flotilla Smells Blood in the Water

DeSantis smells blood in the water. Thank you Liz.

It is not the Mueller Report. That report became the Great Disappointment. All that time. All that effort. All that anticipation. And for what? A dull boring presentation and report that led to nothing thanks in part to Attorney General Bill Barr who had not yet seen the light. Also the format led to numerous opportunities for Congressional Trumpicans to bloviate hot-air nonsense to their hearts content. Thanks to the shortsightedness of the would-be future Speaker, the House Select Committee was able to function as a responsible entity. It shows what Congress is capable of when it focuses on getting the job done and the job is working for the American people and not themselves.

LIZ CHENEY: A STAR IS BORN

For Liz Cheney, it is as if all her life she was waiting and preparing for this moment. The fate of the American democracy literally is on the line. We survived a close call after the 2020 election – not realizing how close it was to ending – and we still face a moment of truth in the 2024 election, but Cheney provides hope that America will emerge triumphant from the January 6 Day of Infamy. Unfortunately, the futures of both Ukraine and the United States are on the line and both Putin and Trump are determined to prevail.

Cheney already has earned a place in the history books. She has done so in a literal sense. Her opening argument will join the ranks of the Lincoln-Douglas debates for theater and brilliance … and this time we have a visual record and not just the printed word. Her words will become standard reading in law classes in how to prepare an opening argument for a jury trial. She will be studied by debate teams. She will be remembered in American history classes.

Think of all the remarks raised against her. Think of all the comments/tweets by Trump, McCarthy, Jordan, Taylor Greene, Gaetz, and the other assorted characters that populate the former Republican Party. As the students of history, law, and politics in the future study and contrast her presentation with the sad, pathetic remarks by her adversaries, they will laugh in amazement that such simple-minded imbeciles actually could be in positions of power. Of course, this assumes the America remains a democracy otherwise all bets are off.

AN AUDIENCE OF ONE  

The audience for Cheney and the House Select Committee is not simply the American people. When people audition on Foxhub, they are speaking to an audience of one. Similarly, here, Cheney and the House Select Committee have one person in mind during their presentations and for the final report. That one person is not the current President of the United States or even the former President who is the target of the investigation. Obviously, the one person is the Attorney General.

So far and in his own way, Merrick Garland has been as big a disappointment to the House Select Committee as Barr was with the Mueller report. To be fair, the times they are a changing. Like a turtle finally sticking its head out of its shell, Garland appears to be elevating his position in the investigation. The round-up of hundreds of lesser figures appears to have reach its limit. The low-hanging fruit has and is being prosecuted. Many have pleaded guilty. Now it is time to move up the chain of command, to indict the people who initiated and organized the multiple attempts (7) to over through the government and steal the election. At this point, it does seem that the Attorney General is listening.

Unfortunately, the clock keeps ticking. While the House Select Committee will have completed its work prior to the 2022 Congressional election that may not be enough. Preventing the Trumpicans from shutting down the committee in the new Congress is insufficient. The information collected needs to be turned over to the DOJ prior to that. Furthermore the DOJ needs to act before the campaign season picks up in earnest. For the sake of saving the American democracy, We the People need the co-conspirators to be indicted so they are a campaign issue (In the 2022 Congressional Elections, How Many Candidates Will Have Been Indicted?  December 22, 2021). Taking action in January is too late.

THE STAIN OF DISHONOR

From time to time, I have written about the opportunities to be a profile in courage. Think of the people who have had the chance: Mike Pence, Sean Hannity, Kevin McCarthy and the list goes on and on. One desperate Hail Mary was that there would come a time when the Congressional closet Republicans would finally shed their fears and publicly embrace the truth that they know in their hearts to be true: the President was “bat crazy” as Hannity delicately put it. As day after day, week after week, and month after month passed by, the chances of these closet Republicans overcoming their fear of being mocked as “weak RINO” seemed slimmer and slimmer. The last chance was when they would have nothing to lose. The primary season would be over so they could not be replaced. That final moment of truth is fast approaching as Cheney said:

I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.  

When the Unpresidential Library is built and the wall of dishonor is created the names of many of Cheney’s Republican colleagues will be on it. The House Select Committee is their last chance to redeem themselves.

Kevin McCarthy and the Anti-VAXXer Who Gets COVID

Shredding Government Documents (http://lewisperdue.com/archives/4052)

People who make non-medical decisions to not be vaccinated do so for many reasons. Some reasons may be legitimate from a fear of needles to a fear that the vaccine was rushed. Some may even be theological-based. There is also a longstanding American tradition of people who do not like being told what to do (Would the Dukes of Hazzard Be Vaccinated?). Perhaps that contributes to the country having such a poor record of vaccinations on the global level compared to other industrial countries.

But in this situation, there also are people who refuse to be vaccinated for political reasons. To be vaccinated is to accept the decree of the illegitimate President and they would rather die than do that. Sometimes the decision backfires. When media-prominent people die from COVID, the response may be one of great glee and truly nasty comments rained down upon that individual’s website. The schadenfreude is off the Richter scale!

Fortunately for the people who play Russian roulette with their lives, COVID is not that lethal compared to smallpox or bubonic plague. As a result, not being vaccinated can be a reasonable gamble. In addition, there are people with limited mental necessities who survive a mild case of COVID and then declare that it is no worse than the flu.

And then there is Kevin McCarthy’s decision not to have any Republicans on the House Select Committee investigating the attempted coup on January 6, 2021. The way things look right now, McCarthy is looking more and more like the anti-VAXXer who gets COVID and dies a painful death.

DELAY, DELAY, DELAY

The standard Trumpian playbook calls for delay, delay, delay, delay. Everyone knows about the Election Day deadline for the House Select Committee to complete its report before being disbanded by a future Trumpican House majority. That deadline was no secret. Therefore as one should reasonably have expected, the Committee will issue reports prior to that date. It will name names, identify crimes, and recommend action by the Department of Justice.

McCarthy had the opportunity to delay that report. The best way to have forestalled that scenario was to disrupt the proceedings of the Committee. By now we have all witnessed the defiant actions of people who are going to be named as conspirators despite their lack of cooperation. We can see that the people who have chosen not to comply with subpoenas or who have taken the 5th on virtually every single question have not succeeded in removing themselves from designation as conspirators. All they are really doing is admitting their guilt that they have something criminal to hide.

We know this because of the mountain of evidence which has been collected by the Committee. We know this from the hundreds of people who have been interviewed including from the office of the Vice President. We this from the troves of data which has been accumulated from those people, the recalcitrant Mark Meadows, and the National Archives. And McCarthy proudly declared he would nothing to prevent that accumulation of data.

For those of us who remember the great fuss over the acid-washed servers, the torn documents delivered to the National Archives from the President of the United States are both déjà vu and a possible criminal charge. Remember the shredded document scenes from the movie Argo?

In the movie, we watch breathlessly as the Islamic militants painstakingly sift through the piles of shredded paper. We do so because as the shreds are meticulously pieced together in the attempt to identify the American embassy staff who are fleeing Iran by air. The shifting scenes Hollywood-fashion leads to a final chase scene where naturally the plane takes off just in the nick of time as our hearts slowly return to their normal level of beating. It turns out the shredding incident was based on a Washington shredding incident and a book on the actual Washington scandal appeared as background in the movie.

The point of this rumination is to note that McCarthy chose not to be a disruptive force in the gathering of evidence to charge the Hitman with sedition. When the movie of the Committee’s work is made, there will be a scene of McCarthy self-righteously refusing to participate in the sham investigation witch hunt only to have the decision backfire on him. Think of how smoothly, harmoniously, and effectively the Committee has been able to work together devoid of any Trumpican interference. Thank you Kevin McCarthy.

THE JANUARY 6 TV SHOW

Because McCarthy forsook the opportunity to delay the work of the Committee, he instead will be treated to what is sure to be a blockbuster spring TV series. The show “How the Hitman Tried to Steal the Election and Overthrow the Constitution” will be riveting TV. It may even draw Rachel Maddow back from her hiatus. What cable news reporter not on Foxhub is going to want to miss the story of the millennium so far since 9/11?

Speaking of Foxhub, think of the cognitive dissonance the Trumpican viewers will experience if they dare to watch the hearings. Unless they have been watching CNN or MSNBC on the sly or reading The New York Times or Washington Post in secret, they have no idea of what the Committee has been doing. They may know all about Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Roger Stone and other lesser lights heroically resisting the House Select Committee just as they have been heroically resisting wearing a mask or being vaccinated. However, they are clueless about what has been happening.

Suddenly, live on TV day after day and night after day, there will be testimony documenting the Hitman’s attempt to steal the election and overthrow the Constitution. The evidence will come from Republicans. It will be Republican testimony, Republican texts, Republican emails, and Republican memos that will be on display. It will be shredded Trump documents, Trump family members, and the Hitman himself who will provide the evidence that will be shown to the country.

For people who have not been following the events, the TV shows will be shocking. I first wrote about political thrillers on January 3, 2021. Now we will see one not as a movie but live on TV. Thank you Kevin McCarthy.

OVERTURN THE ELECTION

One of the recurring comments made during the impeachments was that he should not be allowed to take the stand. His lawyers strenuously resisted his insistence that he wanted to testify. His vaunted negotiating skills that would save him under oath were exposed as bull-trump when his own lawyers questioned him in a mock session. For a person incapable of telling the truth except by chance, testifying live would be a nightmare. We have all seen how he walked away from the White House press corps when he could not handle the question. Imagine the setting where he does not have that option, where he will be held in contempt and possibly thrown in jail if he does.

Now we have seen in Texas how he can be the gift the keeps giving to the House Select Committee. No one expected that at a professional political wrestling arena campaign event, he would on his own accord and without any provocation openly acknowledge that he had tried to overturn the election. He still is mad at his Vice President for not doing so. How many times will those words come back to haunt him? Who knows what he will say next?

His throwing of Lindsay Graham under the bus is a sign of things to come. Yes, all the conspirators now expect to be pardoned if convicted and if he runs and if he is re-elected. They make take that gamble just as people do when they refuse to be vaccinated, just as Kevin McCarthy did when he refused to allow Republicans to disrupt the proceedings of the Committee. Do you think there will be any schadenfreude when the political grim reaper comes calling for them then?

Sean Hannity Can Save America: He Won’t Even Try

If the 1/6 assault had been successful or 2025 preview? (Deep Impact)

The House Select Committee investigating the assault on America and the attempt to overthrow the Constitution provides moments of truth for the people called to testify. It offers these individuals an opportunity to rise to the occasion, to be a profile in courage and to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. At this point, we know that many people would rather be imprisoned than tell the truth. Still, hope springs eternal.

POND SCUM SLIME

Some of the people asked to testify have been lifelong pond scum slime. They were reprehensible degenerate human beings prior to their association with the Hitman and they will remain reprehensible degenerate human beings until the day they die. They will not appear before the Committee or they will take the Fifth or they will not tell the truth.

At some level, one would think that they know they will be named in the interim and final report of the Committee.

At some level, one would think that they know even the currently Missing in Action Attorney General will indict them and try them in the federal court in the District of Columbia.

At some level, one would think that they know they could be imprisoned for years to come if not their entire lives.

Or maybe not. Maybe they genuinely are not capable of thinking ahead. Or perhaps they think the Attorney General will remain MIA. Or perhaps they presume they can stretch things out until the Hitman is restored to the White House at which point he immediately will pardon them and all other victims of the witch hunt against him. But maybe if there comes a time when they realize that scenario will not play out, then they will have a “Come to Jesus” moment and be willing to enter into a plea bargain…in exchange for what? Convicting the Hitman?

FIRST TIME CRIMINALS

Another batch of the people called by the House Select Committee are what I call “First Time Criminals.” These are people who have not engaged in the pond scum slime activities of the first group. Regardless of their political views, they have led legal lives. For these people, their association with the Hitman in planning for January 6 and overthrowing the Constitution was their first foray into the dark side of seditious criminal activity. I do not know if they even believe the election was stolen or if they simply subscribe to the adage that “winning isn’t the only thing, it’s everything.”

For these formerly legal people, they should know the same sequence that the Pond Scum Slime group knows. In addition (and for both groups) there is the legal cost for falling on one’s sword rather than telling the truth. The more “real” the prospect of indictment, jail, and prison becomes, the more likely one of these non-career criminals is likely to turn “Michael Cohen.” Instead of taking a bullet for someone who is willing to throw them under the bus, any one of these “First-Timers” might be willing to make a deal. There is no prospect of that now. Far from based on the events today. Perhaps after the interim report, if the MIA Attorney General decides to act, and the reality of their future sinks in….

MIKE PENCE   

For Mike Pence, it is now or never. I have written several blogs about his failure to be a profile in courage. I also recognize that he is growing aware that he is living a pipe dream. He will not be the candidate in 2024. He has no future as a Trumpican. He will never be removed from the Trump List for failing to serve his Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name, Say Hallelujah. He may have reached the point where he remembers at last who his true Lord and Savior is!

He has seen a former aide abandon him and tell the truth even before the election.

He has seen aides who remained with him to the very end now tell the truth.

He knows it is his turn now. It will be his last opportunity to come clean and regain his soul.

On the other hand, he may remain delusional about his prospects for a political future. As always, it seems reasonable against Pence telling the truth, but it does remain a possibility.

If he does decide to tell the truth, it will and will not be important. It will be important for developing the legal case against the Hitman. It will be meaningless for Trumpicans since he has no standing with them. They will denounce him as a Judas, as a Benedict Arnold, and threaten his family. Still for non-Trumpican Republicans and for Independents, Pence’s decision to tell the truth could be significant and even for the 2022 elections.

SEAN HANNITY 

There is one person who could make a difference even for Trumpicans if he decided to tell the truth: Sean Hannity. Back on September 8, 2020, I wrote Will Sean Hannity Be Howard Baker?: Suppose He Wrote a Tell-All Book. We know the answer, of course, was that he did not. Now the situation is a little different. His position as an unofficial advisor to the President of the United States has been exposed. He knows the Hitman is “bat crazy” and listening to people who were steering him wrong. What will he do when his moment of truth comes?

Back in 2020 in that blog, I wrote that Hannity would not write a tell-all book. He would not jeopardize his ratings, his income, his life, and maybe even effect the upcoming election by exposing the bat-crazy moron for who he is. Then I wrote:

But what about after the election? Suppose come January 20, 2021, Hannity is faced with the trifecta of Democratic power: the House, the White House, and the Senate. Then what? Hannity has faced this situation before. He would stand ready to oppose the Democrats just as he did during the Obama years. The question he would ask himself is what is the best way to do so after the vaunted Red Wave sweeps the Trumpican Party from power? What is the best way to resist the Democrats going forward given the likely changes due to the 2020 census? What is the best way to resist the Democrats in upcoming elections in 2022, 2024, and beyond?…. [OBVIOUSLY I DID NOT ANTICIPATE THE POWER OF THE “STOP THE STEAL” MANTRA.]

Similarly Sean Hannity might face a moment of truth after the election as well. He may have no choice but to tell the truth about his meetings and conversations with the President of the United States. After all, he is not a lawyer so they are not privileged. There is no freedom of press issue since these conversations were as an advisor and not a reporter [AND HE IS NOT A REPORTER ANYWAY]. Subpoenas will be issued against him to compel testimony about his participation in the Ukrainian extortion, abuses of power, and whatever strikes the interest of the Congressional investigation committees [I DID NOT ANTICIPATE JANUARY 6]. If Hannity chooses to defy the subpoenas, Attorney General Adam Schiff [I WAS NOT ANTICIPATING A SLEEPING RIP VAN WINKLE INSTEAD] with great glee and satisfaction will add criminal charges to the list and throw him in jail.

My analysis at that time was based on the Loser leaving the stage thereby necessitating Hannity and Foxhub to chart a new course. Obviously I got that wrong. As for Hannity deciding to tell the truth, I concluded:

I am not saying that Hannity will pursue this course of action in the event of a 2020 Democratic trifecta and Red Wave drowning Trumpicans. I am saying that Hannity will have arrived at the proverbial fork in the road. One should not doubt the heady experience it was for him to have the President of the United States at his beck and call. On a strictly psychological level, these four years had to have been a rush, a constant high. Now it will be over. He will feel the disappointment. He will feel the Trumpican pain. He may even decide to wallow in it on a show that nobody in power cares about. Or he may chose not to retire from relevance but to fight on in the real world by becoming Howard Baker and announcing to the world that it is time for THE DONALD to go. Depending on the election results, we will know soon enough what choice Hannity makes.

I was wrong about The Donald leaving the stage; he still dominates the Trumpican Party and Foxhub. But I was right about Hannity facing a moment of truth. I doubt he will rise to the occasion and save the country. He would rather contribute to its divorce instead.