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Will College Students Allow a Hamas-Israel Agreement?

Many college campuses have been convulsed in protests over the Israeli-Hamas war. The exact number fluctuates as new ones emerge and the police and/or college administrators quell the peaceable political discourse by taking students and outside agitators hostage. Presumably if tried and convicted in federal court they will be pardoned.

The mantras of the protestors are “river to sea,” intifada, genocide and various woke terms like “settler colonialism.” Many comparisons are made to the events at Columbia in 1968 given the school’s leading role in 2024 as a spark for the nationwide outburst.

But the parallels with Vietnam are not exact. In fact, there is a wide difference which needs to be explored. While the Vietnam War went on for years, involved many American casualties, and helped Richard Nixon squeak out a victory in the 1968 presidential election. The Democratic incumbent stepped down while his leading rival was the assassinated Robert Kennedy and not the gadfly Robert Kennedy, Jr. There remains a serious question to be answered. What happens if in the near future there is an agreement between Hamas and Israel even if only a temporary one?

SHORT TERM

If Israel and Hamas agree to a temporary cessation of hostilities and an exchange of prisoners, what will be the impact on protesting college students? For now, the protestors are parroting the phrases of Hamas (and Iran) in calling for the destruction of Israel. If instead, Hamas enters into an agreement with Israel, what is there to protest? If there is a cessation of violence and an exchange of prisoners, then the call for intifada or river to sea takes on a brand new meaning. How do you protest against Israel if Hamas has entered into an agreement with Israel? Such an agreement takes the wind out of the protestors’ sails. If Hamas decides to work with Israel in some way, what is there to protest?

There is an easy test between the disconnect of the desires of the Palestinians and those of the American students. When for a brief instant, it seemed as if peace would break out in Gaza even if only for a short period, what were the reactions? In Gaza, Palestinians were celebrating. They were dancing in the street. They have no love for Hamas and the war which Hamas initiated on its own to the detriment of the Palestinian people. By contrast, there was no such celebration on the campuses of American colleges. For the pro-Hamas students, a treaty will Israel that still leaves Israel in existence, is no treaty at all.

MIDDLE TERM

If the time line is extended, then the position of the protesting college students becomes even more precarious. Here are some things that could conceivably happen in the middle term if Israel realizes that when you are in a hole, stop digging.

1. An Arab peacekeeping force could replace the Israeli troops in Gaza (Tom Friedman). If the “occupying force” consists of other Arab forces then the call for river to sea, intifada, and genocide disappears. These Arabs will then train Gazans to be the local police. These Arabs will then help create a local infrastructure devoid of Hamas participation. All this is antithetical to the protesting college students’ mantras.

2. The security deal that was on the verge of being signed is now back in play. It would join Israel, the United States, and Palestine in an anti-Iranian collation. We have already seen how a coalition of western allies plus Israel and Jordan were able to dispatch the Iranian drones recently launched against Israel. A formal security agreement would signify that Iran has little wiggle room to affect a river to sea outcome.

3. As a result, Saudi Arabia would be joined more closely to the United States. This would include weapons purchases and a possible development of civilian nuclear power as Iran claims it is seeking to do now.

How could American college students protesting for the river to the sea accept these peace terms instead?

LONG TERM

In the long term, people are now beginning to discuss in the long term for Gaza that is not based on the rule of Hamas. The idea of a long term involvement and shared oversight of Gaza is under discussion. The ongoing presence in Gaza of personnel from friendly Arab counties would permit the development and emergence of homegrown Gaza leaders free of the Hamas taint. It would make up for the years during which Hamas suppressed and oppressed the very people they claim to champion.

In this view, it is possible to imagine Gaza transformed from an isolated area it is today. It could become a Mediterranean commercial hub centered on trade, tourism, and innovation with the creation of a middle class no matter how farfetched it might seem at present (Peter Goodman, 4/30/24 NYT print). Such actions requiring decades would bring about the integration of Gaza into the global economy. The power of Iran would be reduced accordingly. The very presence of such long-term plans would undermine Hamas. It would demonstrate a long-term commitment to Gaza that is antithetical to the constant wars of Hamas. College students in the United States would be furious since such developments are contrary to what they espouse.

WOKE

The fixation by the college students with Israel is revelatory. Students concerned about the violent abuse and murder of other people have plenty of targets in the world if only they would choose to look. For example, that other war involving the United States between Ukraine and Russia. Sudan is another.

But “woke” was designed to target the actions first of the Anglo countries – United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and South Africa (before) – and only secondarily other European colonial powers no longer in existence. It was not intended for other relationships. In this environment, Israel serves as a living proxy for all these countries and their now collapsed empires. For people who speak the language of colonial settler, Israel is the perfect target even though Arab Palestinians are not native to the land, they are not indigenous.

Remember how MAGAs refused to be vaccinated against COVID so as not to give Biden a win?

A similar scenario is playing out here. The more Biden puts the brakes on Israeli military expansion, the less the woke will be able to generate outrage for their agenda. The more the United States and its friends in the region act in concert to bring the fighting to a halt, the less the woke will be able to generate outrage for their agenda. The more the United States and its friends in the region act in concert to replace the river-to-sea rule of Hamas with plans to make Gaza a Hamas-free part of the West, the less the woke will be able to generate outrage for their agenda. By the time colleges resume in the fall, the situation will be very different than it is today.

The more leadership Biden shows in ending this phase of the conflict and presenting an alternative to Hamas, the more the outrage will dissipate … except for those students who want Hamas to continue to oppress, repress and suppress the Palestinian people.

Biden Boldly Goes Where No President Has Gone Before

Kirk never took a ten hour train ride. Beam me up, Scotty.

Joe Biden has boldly gone where no American President has gone before. His journey into a war zone where there are no American troops will be remembered with alongside previous American Presidential combat trips. Who can forget John Kennedy’s proclamation that he was a Berliner at the Berlin Wall or Ronald Reagan’s call to tear down that very wall in Berlin or Donald Trump’s clearing of Lafayette Square for a photo op. These are the defining moments of a presidency producing images that endure throughout history.

As one hears about the intricacies of the trip Biden undertook, one can almost hear the theme from Mission Impossible playing in the background. But now that the journey is complete, one has to ask what did it accomplish, what difference did it make?

This blog will be a bifurcated one because the significance on the global stage does not correlate with that in the domestic arena.

LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD

With this trip, Biden asserted his position as leader of the free world. He is not the leader of the unfree world. However those countries have been put on notice that he is the leader of the free world. In particular, this applies to NATO. That organization has been reinvigorated, unified, and is set to expand. None of these developments are what Putin sought when he launched his special military operation which ended up being war. The Donald Trump era of America alone and thrashing NATO is over … at least until the 2024 presidential election.

As the leader of the free world, Biden has drawn a line in sand in Ukraine. He can no longer allow Ukraine to lose. North Korea/South Korea and North Vietnam/South Vietnam divisions of Ukraine are unacceptable. There are no negotiations possible since only victory is acceptable.

PETER THE GREAT

With this trip, Biden has put Putin on notice that his dreams of Peter the Great will not be fulfilled … at least as long as Biden is President. Biden’s visit serves as a declaration that he will not allow Ukraine to fall on his watch. That means however Putin ratchets up the intensity of the Russian effort, it will be matched by Biden. There is no victory in sight for Putin.

Way back on February 6, I asked Is Putin Winning?: Joe Biden’s Moment of Truth. I wondered what Biden would do. I wrote:

The United States has expended a great deal of military equipment and moral leadership on behalf of Ukraine. Can the United States afford to just walk away from that because we fear Putin?

If we do walk away, it not only means Russia has triumphed over America, it means that China, Iran, and MAGAs have too. Far from being an isolated event, Putin’s war against Ukraine has become a world war. Think of the fuss raised over the Chinese spy balloon. Now imagine what it would be if America fails in Ukraine.

In some ways, Putin’s war against Ukraine has become Biden’s Cuban Missile Crisis.

I was not expecting an answer so quickly. One might think that Putin has received and understands the message. Now he is relegated to waiting for Western unity to crack or his lackey to return to the White House in 2025. Only then if Biden is re-elected may we learn that Putin is willing to live in the real world. Whether or not the Russian/elites military are willing to wait that long is another matter. We need to convince them that Russia is not our enemy, Putin is, and that we have a common enemy in China.

AMERICAN LEADERSHIP: DEMOCRATS

For someone with one foot in the grave – assuming he was not already dead – Biden has had a remarkably active and robust first two+ years that would make a younger President proud. Given his domestic legislation triumphs and his world leadership role against Russia and its authoritarian allies, it is hard to imagine any Democrat challenging him. So far none has. No Democratic office holder has undertaken any actions that would signify a move towards becoming a candidate.

But one needs to keep in mind that the 2024 election is a long way off. Joe Biden easily could step down on the grounds that he has achieved what he sought to achieve and then some; now it is time to turn the ship of state over to someone else. The sticking point including for those who say they don’t want Biden to run again is who that someone else should be? At this point there is no obvious successor despite the longstanding tradition broken by Obama of choosing one’s Vice President to be the successor. On the other hand, there is the example of John Fetterman. At lot can happen in a couple of years. Great athletes tend not to retire at the top of their game; they tend to wait until they have started to decline excluding any career-ending injury.

One should keep in mind that Biden does not get any credit for his achievements. He has every right to be proud of what he has accomplished. Yet somehow that has not translated into any boost in his popularity. People still say with a straight face and in all sincerity that he has not done anything. One wonders what if anything can break through that mindset.

AMERICAN LEADERSHIP: MAGA

“The President of the United States chose Ukraine over America, while forcing the American people to pay for Ukraine’s government and war,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) “I cannot express how much Americans hate Joe Biden.”

“Breathtaking that President Biden can show up in Ukraine to ensure their border is secure, but can’t do the same for America,” January 6 co-conspirator Rep. Scott Perry tweeted.

Rep. Matt Gaetz Gaetz and Greene are co-sponsors of the Ukraine Fatigue Act that aims to undermine support for Kyiv as the Russian invasion of its European neighbor moves into its second year. Greene wrote. “We must impeach this America Last fool before it’s too late.”

So far the Republicans have the upperhand over the MAGAs in Congress. How long that will last remains unknown. MAGA’s think differently. They have no interest in the President of the United States being the leader of the Free World. They prefer Putin to Biden. So while the call for premature withdrawal has no traction now, the situation could change.

For the moment at least, Biden has created a historically defining moment with his visit to Ukraine and speech in Poland. In the future Railroad One may become a tourist trip. If the Democrats are smart they will contrast Trump’s submissiveness to Putin at Helsinki with Biden’s defiance at Kyiv. They will contrast Trump’s “perfect phone call” to undermine Ukraine in his first impeachment with Biden’s “One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.” One year ago today, Trump praised Putin for his genius, the savvy leader who had a strong army for peace. Putin expected to be in Kyiv shortly afterwards. Instead the war has not only been Zelenskyy’s moment of glory, it has become Biden’s too. Will the American people realize that?

MAGA’s Have “A Beautiful Mind:” There Is No Cure

MAGAs have problems connecting the dots

“A Beautiful Mind” is a movie about Nobel-Prize winner John Nash. He had delusions and was placed in a mental hospital by his wife. The movie plays somewhat loose with the facts as should be expected. Nash’s schizophrenia didn’t truly develop until the 1960s, after he had graduated from Princeton and married Alicia Nash. Apparently the visual delusions were made up for the film in order to capture the spirit of his real psychosis. The real Nash heard voices that mocked and argued with him constantly.

At times, Nash thought the voices were coming from aliens or angels. At the height of his madness, Nash believed that aliens were sending him encrypted messages through the New York Times and that any man wearing a red necktie was a member of a secret international communist organization. He feared that the government was working with extraterrestrials to destroy his reputation.

While there is not an exact one-to-one correspondence between Nash and MAGAs (or QAnons, there are lessons to be learned. Specifically there are three mental necessities that seem to lacking or in short supply in the thinking of MAGAs. They complicate the chances of the MAGAs ever abandoning their alternate reality for the real world no matter what “evidence” is presented. These are:

1. the ability to connect the dots
2. the ability to think things through
3. the ability to cope when confronted with the real world.

Actually they are very good with the last one – they simply shut it out.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

In the movie, Nash is superb as connecting the dots. The image shown here is from a scene where Nash is not operating in a state-of-art spy center as he hallucinates. Instead he is in a dilapidated run-down shack or barn. He is diligently clipping newspaper articles and photographs and connecting them with string. Periodically he “mails” proofs of the conspiracies he has uncovered to his recruiter. These real mailings are intercepted by his friends who save them until a climactic moment in the movie.

Previously I have written about the limitations of the mental necessities of our immature child loser President. He can only connect two dots. For him that is the ultimate achievement. That’s the way he was born. No surgery, no drug treatment, no analysis can remedy that shortcoming. For anything beyond two dots, he has to outsource that level of thinking.

Sean Hannity was a key person in that process. He has a superb ability to connect the dots even when there was no connection. Think of Seth Rich. It’s not easy to construct an alternate reality but, Hannity did it. Night after he proclaimed that he had unraveled the mystery and connected the dots of the Fake News Russia hoax. He did so until the lawsuit of the Rich family shut him up.

Even so, the technique survived. A critical component of the true MAGA mind is the belief that someone has connected the dots and made sense of the world. They gravitate towards the QAnons, the Steve Bannons, and, of course, Foxhub itself. They know that they can rely on these dot-connectors to present to them an explanation for what is going on. Disconnecting them from those dots is not going to be easy (see below).

THINK THINGS THROUGH

We have had numerous examples on the failure of MAGAs to think things through.

Think of the MAGA denunciations of gas prices over $5/gallon as if they never would come down. Think it through.

Think of the urgent need to shoot down all the Chinese balloons over the United States even if they turned out to be high school science projects. This “shoot first” policy is a perfect test case of the dangers of having a fully armed population where everyone can take the law into their own hands by shooting first and asking questions later. Think it through.

Think of the not-yet-indicted loser president exclaiming after the redacted portion of the Fulton County special grand jury report was released:

Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage. Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you!!!

He must think Bill Barr is still the Attorney General and he had just squashed the Mueller Report. And with his “perfect phone call” we witness a replay of his first impeachment.

Here we have a redacted report that eliminates the names of the targets who will be indicted and he is claiming total exoneration! What will he say when the full report is released. Think it through.

In addition, he demonstrates no awareness, interest, or concern for the people who have been identified as targets, who now may be accused of perjury besides the election issues, and who may be indicted… and then transform into Michael Cohen! Think it through.

Finally, think of the MAGA House committees chomping at the bit to launch a series of investigations.

Think of the House committee investigating the politicization of the Department of Justice. Now it turns out the DOJ was politicized but it was by Donald Trump.

Think of the House committee investigating corruption due to foreign money. Now it turns out that Saudi Arabia is the key to the corruption and Trump and his son-in-law are the ones who need to be investigated.

One presumes that House Democrats will hold MAGA feet to the fire on these items.

One hopes that the appropriate Senate committees will launch their own investigations into the real politicization and corruption which had occurred.

THE REAL WORLD

MAGAs have had to cope with disappointments in the real world before.

1. Seth Rich did not turn out to be the key to the Russia hoax.
2. The August 14, 2021, date for the restoration of the rightful President to the White House as predicted by Pillow Head and Séance Sydney has come and gone.
3. The Inspector General report that was going to expose the Russia hoax turned out to be a nothingburger that confirmed the investigation was legitimate.

MAGA thinking has not changed.

1. The House Select Committee report with the testimony from all those Republicans did not move the needle.
2. COVID is still a hoax and the vaccines should be investigated and/or banned presumably for polio, measles, and other diseases.
3. The election still was stolen.

In January, a recount was held in Lycoming, PA. MAGAs pressured the hand re-recount of 60,000 votes. The results were a net change for the incumbent who had won the county with 69.97% of the vote. He gained 8 votes bring the total to 69.98%. It had no effect. Instead he reaction was “We’re not done” (NYT 1/16/23). The County Director of Elections Forrest Lehmann despaired that an encounter with facts would not change their minds.  Since the recount, the department has received “a series of crazy requests. They are insane,” Lehmann said sounding a lot like a Foxhub broadcaster.

Speaking of Foxhub, the emails and texts of the Foxhub personalities on what they wee actually saying when the camera was not on have just been released. Or at least some of them have. Do you think MAGAs will finally see the light and say “Gosh. I have been wrong this whole time. Joe Biden really won the election.”

Cope by denial. At one point the idea of having the three night Foxhub performers jointly say that Joe Biden really won might have made a difference. It’s too late now.

Recently, a reporter interviewed some people at a MAGA event. The two people claimed that Donald Trump was still the President in 2023. The interviewer was somewhat surprised by that answer but continued in true reporter stance maintaining his cool. The two people insisted Donald Trump was the President. In response to a question about the military, they paused because they had not thought things through. Then they rationalized that there had to be two militaries, a good military which reported to Trump and a bad military which reported to Biden. This question was asked prior to Biden’s trip to Ukraine.

Questions not asked (or asked and not shown) were:

1. If Donald Trump is the President now, then why does he claim the election was stolen?
2. If Donald Trump is the President now, then how can he run for a third term under the constitution?

We have just had proof that that stolen election will be on the ballot in 2024. In Michigan, the Democrats swept all the statewide elections in 2022 and even flipped the state legislature. This means Michigan will be a battleground state in 2024 strictly based on the actual vote. So how did the Republicans respond to this defeat in the real world? Two election-deniers battled each other for the leadership position in the Republican Party. The vote-counting was delayed due to the use of paper ballots and hand-counting! What have they learned from 2022? Nothing except to urge the Party of Republicans.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, the now announced candidate Nikki Haley said:

We have lost the seven out of eight popular votes for president. It is time that we get a Republican in there that can lead and that can win a general election.

At that point Hannity should have taken her to task. Republicans lost five of six elections from 1992 to 2008 but MAGAs won the popular vote in 2016 and 2020.

One may anticipate that 2020 will be on the ballot again, that candidates will be asked if the election was stolen, and if Biden is the legitimate president. They will be put on the spot in the primaries and the winner will be put on the spot in the general election. I have not seen polls yet for 2024 comparing a candidate who thinks the election was stolen with one who does not. Republican candidates will be obligated to claim the election was stolen. Eventually someone will ask Nikki Haley about her “oversight.”  The minds of MAGA will not be changed not even by the disclosed Foxhub emails. But they will become more a more a laughingstock to Team Normal as they stick with the insane craziness and the candidates who support it.

Civil War Update: The Battle of Gettysburg 2022 Elections

(https://www.wctrib.com)

In the battle between Donald Trump and the Constitution, the 2022 elections may be considered the Battle of Gettysburg. The current Civil War is being fought differently than the last one. That Civil War was fought at National Park Service sites. This one is being fought through the voting at all levels and the occasional violence on January 6 and with a hammer.

It is easy at this point to be caught up in the details of individual elections and not see the forest for the leaf. The Battle of Gettysburg 2022 Elections is a critical one in the determination of who will win the overall war. This midterm election was an anomaly because, as previously stated, there were two Presidents were on the ballot. Although neither one was actually on the ballot, the vote in part was a referendum on both 45 and 46.

Under normal circumstances, one would expect 46’s party not to fare well. In the past there have been tidal wave shifts against the incumbent President. Everytime a voter saw a gas price while driving or food prices while shopping, the voter was reminded that a change was needed.

On the other hand, when an 82-year old grandfather was struck with a hammer, the voter was reminded what was disgusting and repulsive about 45 and his followers. To watch Tumpicans take joy in and make fun of the hammer attack was a bridge too far for many Americans. Are these the type of people you want in charge of the country?

Fortunately for Trumpicans, many voters still vote local, the price of gas or my party. But others worry about the threat to democracy.

BATTLEGROUND

The time immediately prior to the Battle of Gettysburg 2022 Elections represents the high water mark for the Trumpican forces. Just as Napoleon and Hitler were going great guns for a while, eventually they reached their limits and it was all downhill from there. Similarly, for the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee’s campaign into Pennsylvania marked his deepest penetration into the North. Once the Union prevailed at Gettysburg, it was back to the South. Similarly, Trump’s sally into Pennsylvania led to a double defeat of his two-handpicked candidates. Republicans already debate the squandered opportunity of the nomination of two Trumpicans.

Up until Election Day, it was full speed ahead for Trumpicans. Republicans were purged from the Party either through retiring or by being primaried. Occasionally, some would win, but in general all those who favored impeachment were gone. Instead, people who supported the claim that the election had been stolen were the nominees.

Laws had been passed to suppress the votes of Democrats.

Candidates had been selected to ensure the vote count be favorable in 2024.

Supreme Court cases had been filed so only gerrymandered state legislatures could decide who had won.

An army of vote suppressors had been recruited and trained.

The only thing left was the actually vote.

THE BATTLE IS ENGAGED  

The same person who predicted a red wave in 2018, predicted one in 2022. He was so sure of the results, that a week after the election on November 15 he was prepared to announce his candidacy for2024. Apparently, he is becoming more and more ballistic about his not being in the White House now and more and more difficult to be handled. Perhaps old age is beginning to affect his mental necessities where he increasingly obsesses over his lost past. The White House has become his Rosebud except it never was his to own in the first place.

The Battle of Gettysburg 2022 Elections expose him as a loser. Sure he can influence who wins a Republican primary. Sure he can “endorse” who wins in a Republican district. But once a candidate has to venture out into the state electorate, the results are not as favorable.

2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

45 the Loser has direct significance for the 2024 elections.

Previously I had suggested that DeSantis would wait until 2023, before issuing a challenge. That timetable needs to be speeded up. 45 already was fuming about DeSantis long before the 2022 Election Day. Then he decided to fire the first formal shot by giving DeSantis one of those clever junior high school nicknames. He further sought to undermine any potential presidential bid by DeSantis by threatening to smear him and his family. Now DeSantis is a big winner with a huge financial stockpile and 45 is again a loser.

The future does not bode well for 45. Two trials already are underway in New York related to the Trump organization that no one will defend because they are too busy taking the Fifth. It is only a matter of time before he is indicted for Mar-a-Lagogate and vote tampering in Georgia. The House Select Committee will issue its report further documenting 45’s effort to overthrow Constitutional rule in the United States leading to further legal complications. As people lose their fear of retribution, even more of them may be willing to come forth. In short, he has nothing good to look forward to legally in the next two years. His legal woes will be like those gas signs, a constant reminder to the voters why it is time to move on.

How many people are going to run in 2024 with a call to relitigate 2020? Just some old guy puttering around in his luxurious nursing home surrounded by his souvenirs… and he won’t even have them anymore either.

Then what happens when Russia loses in Ukraine. On Election Day, the Russians announced a major pullback. More to come. This smart savvy invasion of no cost is leading to the defeat of Russia. What are the implications of an Ukrainian victory? What are the ripple effects of a Putin defeat in Russia, in Iran, in China, in Syria, and elsewhere? What are the kudos that will be extended to the supposedly near-death Biden when it turns out Brandon prevailed over Putin?

TRUMPICAN AGENDA

Election Day 2022 burst the bubble of the 45 Loser. He reached the limits of power the day before the election. Even if Republicans take control of the House and Senate, they are well aware that the red wave did not materialize. They are well are of who should be held responsible –  the same person who was responsible for January 6. Republicans in the House and Senate know that if they came out of box in 2023 with guns blazing to relitigate, investigate, and impeach the past, that the American voting public has no interest in it.

Americans looking at those gas prices aren’t interested in a retribution agenda. If the only goals of the Trumpican Party are to help rich people get richer and squeeze the benefits of the little people that they are not a winning formula.

In the meantime Donald Trump will be fuming constantly on Twitter or some other social media platform. Even Foxhub is ready to move on. As of right now he may the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican Party presidential nomination. By the time the actual campaign comes around he will just be an immature child with emotional maturity of a three-year old fighting to stay out prison. It will even be safe to be a real Republican then and he may be an afterthought will no role to play.

Give credit where credit is due. He completely disrupted the American political system and put democracy at risk. Now what is at risk is his own freedom. His November 15 announcement, if it happens, is likely to be pitiable compared to the escalator ride a mere seven years ago.                   

Putin’s Big Lie versus Trump’s Big Lie

Is it time to hide under your school desks? (Georgetown University)

We stand at Armageddon: so said Teddy Roosevelt over a century ago. Today Armageddon is back in the news. It is explicitly in news due to the comments of the current President of the United States hearkening back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. But there is another Armageddon pending the return of “Orange Jesus” to the American presidency when heads are going to roll in fulfillment of the QAnon prophecy.

THE RUSSIAN HOWARD BAKER MOMENT

In Russia, Putin’s Big Lie is not faring too well. As noted in my previous blog, Russians Reject Putin’s Big Lie?, even with Russian Foxhub at his disposal, the dictator is less and less able to convince people of the validity of his Big Lie. This failure extends beyond the Russian people to the leaders of countries who are supposed to be his friends and allies.

The question to be raised is one Americans have heard before:

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

Russia is approaching this point. No one may say these precise words in a public setting even substituting “Ukraine” for “Vietnam,” but the sentiment is one more and more Russian people are expressing openly.

For now, there is still some semblance of order within the country. Despite all the Russians who have fled, there are still Russian males being rounded up to fight in the unsuccessful war in Ukraine. Possibly due to sheer numbers they may make a difference. Possibly also these poorly-trained, poorly-armed soldiers with low morale joining others in a similar situation will be more cannon fodder for the advancing Ukranians. Hard as it is to believe, it seems possible on any given day to wake up in the United States and learn that part of the Russian army has simply collapsed, surrendered, or retreated.

The moment of truth for Putin, Russia, and the world when Putin realizes his Hail Mary failed. At that point, will he go ballistic?

Here is when the Russian Howard Baker moment will occur. The Russians know that Putin’s Big Lie is exactly that – it is Putin’s Big Lie, not Russia’s Big Lie. To confront Putin’s Big Lie is to confront one individual. To challenge Putin at that moment when he may go ballistic is the act of a Russian patriot and not a Russian traitor. As the protests against the war mount in the weeks and months to come, the protests will be directed against one individual and not against Mother Russia.

The Russians who love their country will be able to join together if Putin is ready to go ballistic to salvage his Big Lie. So while it is true based on Putin’s rhetoric that we stand at Armageddon,  it is to defend Putin’s Big Lie. The gamble is that if he decides to push the button, there will be mutiny in Kremlin and it will not happen. That does mean Russia will turn into a democracy, but it does mean less adversarial and cooler heads devoid of a Peter the Great complex will rise to fore. At that moment, it will be essential for the American President to extend the hand of friendship so the Russian collapse in Ukraine will be as peaceful as the collapse of the Iron Curtain was.

TRUMP’S BIG LIE

Trump’s Big Lie will prove more enduring than Putin’s Big Lie. Ironically, in a country with freedom of the press, Trump’s Big Lie wields more power with each passing day than Putin’s Big Lie does in Russia.

For 45, it has been déjà vu 2016 all over again. He endorsed a GOP candidate for governor, Geoff Diehl in Massachusetts, by telling a crowd that Diehl will “rule your state with an iron fist, and he’ll do what has to be done.” In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, he addressed a rally supposedly in support of Republican candidates in the state: Mehmet Oz for the Senate; the January 6 apologist Doug Mastriano for governor. This one was different: so extreme, so strident, and so ugly—and so obviously provoked by an earlier Biden’s speech on fascists that this was what led local news coverage: “Donald Trump Blasts Philadelphia, President Biden During Rally for Doug Mastriano, Dr. Oz in Wilkes-Barre.”

These venues are his preferred ones, the professional political wrestling arenas. There he can unleash his barely contained inner id to the thunderous applause of his followers. In this venue, he can give full cry to what social media limits him to – plus he is better at speaking than writing.

At this point, he is operating in two arenas, one legal and one political. In the legal arenas (plural), things are not going so well. He may well be the first person in American jurisprudence to be involved with four courts on three levels plus a Special Master in a single case. His lawyers are in chaos. Some of them know they will be indicted. He has now thrown a Hail Mary to Supreme Court Justice Thomas just after praising his wife for her loyalism in her testimony to the House Select Committee. What are the odds that Thomas will recuse himself?

In the political arena, all these legal maneuverings all irrelevant when it comes to denting the loyalty by Trumpicans. They are not following the intricacies of Mar-a-Lagogate. They are standing by their man nationally just as they are in the state of Georgia.

As the crowds in his political arena become uglier and meaner with their QAnon hatred, so will his rhetoric about civil war and the need to destroy the people who are destroying America. It will only get worse after the 2022 elections a scant month away. As Steve Bannon might say, “Strap in and buckle up.” The civil war has already started and there is no turning back.

We’re not Russia. In Russia, the Big Lie is due to Putin alone. By contrast, in the United States, Trump’s Big Lie will survive him. We can see how many candidates in 2022 embrace Trump’s Big Lie. We can see how hard Trumpicans are working at the state and federal level to ensure that never again will Satan’s minions, i.e., Democrats, be allowed to take power in the United States.

Consider the agenda of the House of Representatives if the Trumpicans take control:

Impeach Joe Biden
Relitigate the 2020 Presidential election
Investigate the House Select Committee
Investigate the FBI for its Nazi-Gestapo actions just as Putin did with his invasion of Ukraine
Investigate Hunter Biden (unless the DOJ already has indicted him)
Impeach Joe Biden again.

These agenda items are from a people at war. There has been a lot of talk about whether or not there will be another civil war. There has been a scrutiny of search engines and websites for the language used. There is a failure to understand that we are in the midst of a civil war already, just not as violent yet as the ones in the American Revolution or the Civil War. This one is being fought locally. It is being fought in the school board elections. It is being fought in the superintendent hiring. It is being fought in the poll workers. It is being fought in various state elections to control the election infrastructure. It is being fought through the bused immigrants. The battleground states really are battle ground states for the control of the country.

Trump’s Big Lie has found a home. It is now part of the very fabric of tens of millions of people. They already were at war with the Politically-Corrected People (PCP). They are at war with the Woke. This is why the battles being fought in the legal arena ultimately are of no concern. Regardless of what happens to Trump the individual, the war will continue under the banner of Trump the symbol. The Russians can abandon Putin’s Big Lie but Trumpicans cannot abandon Trump’s Big Lie. They need it to be true.

Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden: The Heroes We Want vs the Leaders We Have

We are a storytelling species who wants heroes (Wikipedia)

Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner are having a moment.

So are Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but in a different way.

The juxtaposition of these two pairs provides an opportunity to compare the people we admire as heroes with the actual leaders we have. The difference exposes the challenge to America today and in the next two elections this year and in 2024.

THE HEROES WE WANT

Tom Cruise has unexpectedly rocketed to a billion dollar gross in his new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie. Movies have suffered during Covid. Attendance plummeted. Movie studios wondered if people would return to the theaters, to the experience of seeing movies in-person with up to hundreds of other people. Maybe the next one would the blockbuster would be the one…. Maybe the one after that.

Then along comes the Tom Cruise move. BOFFO AT THE BOX OFFICE to use an old Hollywood term. Seemingly out of nowhere, this generation-later expansion of the original Top Gun movie startled everyone with its power. What gives?

One major difference is that the movie is a Tom Cruise movie. It is not a Roman numeral movie. It is not the latest incarnation of a super-duper movie reflecting Hollywood’s unending ability to crank out ever more new costumed beings. There are no dinosaurs in the movies or aliens of any kind. The story is not set in some mythical world in the past, present, or future. It isn’t even a special effects movie as many of the scenes that ordinarily would be special effects instead were real people learning how to fly.

In this regard, Tom Cruise represents a form of nostalgia to the good old days. You go to see (or not see) a Tom Cruise movie because it is a Tom Cruise movie. Do you really know the names of the characters he has played in his movies? Do you really know the name of the characters John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, or Gary Cooper played? No! You saw the movie because it starred John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, or Gary Stewart.

Similarly Tom Cruise is larger than his movies. In almost every movie he plays himself or at least what we imagine him to be like off screen. We didn’t care what Spencer Tracy or Jimmy Cagney was really like. Even in one of the great Star Trek episodes where Kirk travels to the 1930s past, Joan Collins says her man (Kirk) is taking her to a Clark Gable movie. The title is irrelevant.

As a country we like the Maverick character of Pete Mitchell and flock to the multiplex to see it.

Kevin Costner also is having a moment. It is on the small screen and has been building for years. He has had an iconic career in movies starring in classics in American mythology. Perhaps it is coincidence but Durham began its most recent growth spurt with the movie “Bull Durham.”  Who would have thought that an actual corn field in Iowa split among two owners would become a tourist site where fathers could have catch with their sons.

Costner like Cruise performs in human roles. Generally, he lives in the present or the real world. In that sense he is always Kevin Costner. The Lakota Nation adopted Costner as an honorary member. As a result of his performance with Whitney Houston in “The Body Guard,” he was one of eight speakers at her funeral giving by all accounts a very moving eulogy. Name another actor with that kind of intimate cross-cultural acceptance. Name a politician.

But the real impetus for his success today is an outgrowth from a different movie, “Dances with Wolves.”  As with the TV series “Yellowstone,” Costner is the driving force behind both productions. In the movie he is John Dunbar; in the TV show John Dutton. In the movie, he encounters a wolf; in the TV series, his son has a vision quest with a wolf.

“Yellowstone” has snuck up on people. It is not one of those edgier shows that draws the attention of media critics. It is not gritty. It is not urban. It isn’t even about twisted tortured souls although that might not be true in all cases. It is not exactly the Ponderosa either. Times have changed. The fictional Broken Rock Indian Reservation and people are an integral part of the continuing story line.

So here we have two athletic male heroes with charm, good looks, and ease of appearance. And then there is the real world.

THE LEADERS WE HAVE

Only one week ago on July 5, I wrote SCOTUS and Hutchinson: The Howard Baker Moment Has Arrived. I claimed that it was all downhill for Trump from that point forward and that was exactly right.

Not only did a minion witness tamper with Hutchinson, but it seems that Trump himself tampered with a witness not yet revealed. Indictments forthcoming.

Foxhub has bad-mouthed some of the Trumpican candidates as unworthy of being elected. It remembers the debacle of the 2010 Senate races when Republicans lost sure-fire pickups by nominating nut cases. It does not want to see that happen again even if they are loyal to Trump.

Polls suggest Republicans are increasingly tired of Trump-shenanigans and it is only going to get worse. They are ready to move on if he will let them. Relitigating 2020 may be Trump’s only priority but it is not that of Republicans.

Polls show that even against the near-dead Biden with horrendous approval ratings, the Loser would lose again.

At some point soon, even closet Republicans in the Congress may be ready to stand up and be counted.

Of course, Joe Biden is having a rough spell himself. His is visibly aging and tiring in a way that cannot be hidden from the voters … even the ones who support him.

There is no end in sight for gas prices or Ukraine.

He was not a bold leader even in his prime and now he is past his prime.

According to a focus group reported on in The New York Times full-page in the Sunday Review on July 10 print, people are hungry for leadership. They want leaders who are willing to tell hard truths, go against the grain, and stand up for something unpopular. These were qualities found in leaders in the past like Churchill, suffragists, and Moses. But they also had a good explanation for why we do not have such leaders – if politicians today are not brave and courageous, it might be because We the People are not brave and courageous either.

As one CNN title put it:

Americans may get the one presidential race the country doesn’t want in 2024

In 2016, Democrats nominated the one candidate Trump could beat.
In 2020, Democrats nominated the one candidate who could beat Trump.
In 2022 Democrats need Trump to suck the oxygen out of the campaign with his revenge campaign, indictments, and 2020 fixation.
In 2024 Democrats need Republicans to nominate Trump again and may even secretly fund that effort.

When the movie “January 6” is cast there will be no roles for Tom Cruise or Kevin Costner. On the other hand, woman will clamor for the opportunity to play Liz Cheney.

Cranes for Ukraine: Build It Back Better

Thomas and Friends to the Rescue

There is no light at the end of the tunnel yet. But there is a growing sense that there may be an end to the tunnel.

Russia is not going to conquer the entire country of Ukraine.

Russia is not going to occupy the entire country of Ukraine.

Russian soldiers are not even going to have been present throughout the entire country of Ukraine.

Russia is not willing to settle for half of half a loaf.

The time then is now for the United States to take the initiative.

In my last post (Putin Isn’t the Only Loser: Trump and the Woke Are Too), I mentioned Herbert Hoover and the Marshall Plan as two examples of the United States helping to build Europe back better. Now it is time to start planning to do the same in Ukraine.

We know the areas which have been devastated by Russian artillery. We know that there are mountains of rubble that need to be disposed of in some way. We know that there are buildings still partially standing in a dilapidated state that will have to be demolished adding to the rubble.

We have the expertise to conduct a giant 9/11 removal project. Now instead of it being two buildings, it will be cities as it was in Europe after World War II.

President Joe Biden should immediately call for the creation of a team of nations and construction companies to begin the planning for the removal of the Russian rubble. The planning for this international effort should begin now and it should be public. Certainly China should be expected to participate given its support for Russia in creating this rubble in the first place.

President Joe Biden should then call for the creation of a team of nations, city planners, and construction companies to begin the planning for the rebuilding of the cities destroyed by Russian artillery. Working with the Ukrainians who lived in and governed these cities, city planners, architects, and engineers should begin planning for the new cities to be built once the Russian rubble is removed.

What infrastructure will the rebuilt cities need?

What buildings can be rebuilt?

What new buildings are needed?

The time to start planning for the cleaning up of the Ukrainian cities and their rebuilding is now. We should not wait until the last minute. We should not wait until Putin allows us to do so. We should show the world now that we are planning now for the future of the country. We should show the refugees that they will have a country to which to return. We should show Russia that the Ukraine will not be destroyed.

There are physical dimensions to this process. To remove the Russian rubble will require construction equipment. It will take time to begin to identify the equipment required. Where is it now? How will it get to the Ukraine? Where will it be placed in the Ukraine?

The planning for the assembling of the “Cranes for Ukraine” convoys should start now. We saw how long it took for Putin to assemble his equipment for destruction. It will take time to assemble the equipment for construction.

Start now.

We should publicly announce that we are going to secure the areas where there are no Russian soldiers. NATO is not obligated to defend the Ukraine from aggression. But it is capable of accepting an invitation to put boots on the ground there. We should secure the areas of the Ukraine where the cranes for Ukraine convoys will be going.

Finally, we should announce to the Russian people that we have no intention of cancelling Russia. The country has three paths from which to choose.

1. The Putin “Peter the Great” go-it-alone divine mission approach
2. Increasingly subordinated to and dominated by China approach
3. Partnering with Europe and the United States approach.

What do I mean for Russia to partner with the West? What does it mean politically? What does in mean culturally? What does it mean economically? What does it mean in space, at the poles, in the oceans? We need to communicate with the Russian people by every means possible that there is a life to look forward in partnership with the West. Ultimately the Russian people are going to hear from their own sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers what they were doing in the Ukraine. They are going to learn how many have not returned. They will see how many of those who return will need lifelong care and treatment. These people are not our enemy. We need to start reaching out to them now.

Build back better does not only apply to the United States. It applies to the Ukraine and to a post-Putin Russia, too.

January 6, 2025: Suppose Biden Loses?

County-level secession in New York, February 3, 2022 (https://www.wivb.com)

Civil war talk is in the air. It is in books. It is in articles. It is on talk shows. Whole cable show series may be dedicated to the prospect of the new American Civil War. In fact, the question seems to have moved from being a debating point to being a fait accompli.

On one hand, such talk is good. After years of writing about America’s third civil war, it is gratifying to see that people in the know now are taking seriously the possibility that the 2024 election could be our last one as a free country with the current 50 states…. our ranking as a free society already has deteriorated significantly among the nations by people who track such things.

On the other hand, it also is quite fearful to realize that the end of days for our country as we now know it may be occur before a student who entered college in the 2021/2022 school year may graduate.

So to put the scare talk aside for a moment, in the real world what actually may happen on January 6, 2025, when Congress meets to certify the election results.

NO GETTYSBURG/WASHINGTON DC SHOWDOWN

The chances of a military showdown comparable to the battle at Gettysburg or any other National Park Service site in the Confederacy are slim. True both sides are more than capable of deploying forces in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands at the national capital. Realistically, will that happen?

As we are seeing in the Russian massing of forces to invade the Ukraine, there are logistical challenges to assembling large-scale forces. First, it takes time to do it. Second, it is a highly visible process. Third, someone needs to be in charge of the effort. So while on paper one can envision large-scale forces targeting the Capital, there are numerous problems along the way.

Both sides will be traveling on the same roads.

Both sides will be flying to the same airports.

Both sides will be making reservations at the same hotels and motels.

None of this will be done in secret. There will be news coverage of the prospective participants marching off to battle.

The military is well-aware of the possibility of another January 6 and will be prepared for it.

The commander in-chief will not be welcoming the tourists exercising their second amendment rights to legitimate political discourse at the Capital to kiss and hug cops.

The possible participants know the legal problems currently faced by the participants from the 2021 assault.

Some of the Trump militias may have been weakened by the arrests from the last attack.

In short, the overall odds for a repeat of January 6, 2021, on January 6, 2025, seems low.

STATES SECESSION

Another possibility sometimes talked about is that states that object to the final outcome of the presidential vote will voice that displeasure as South Carolina did in the last Civil War. There has been talk of succession or in the new term, “divorce.”

The state most frequently associated with this path is Texas. The possibility of “Texit” has been around for several years now (The Texas Secession: Legally Dividing America, December 14, 2020).  Let’s say, for example, Texas or any other Confederate state or any of the other six states with the illegal Electors decided it did not accept the results of this second stolen election and therefore declared its independence. What would that mean in practice?

No state is pure. Every Confederate state contains Unionists. In the 2024 election, a Confederate state might vote 60% or more against Biden but that is about the limit. When the states seceded in the last Civil War, each state could be reasonable sure that it had the support of the white males who had voted. The electoral demographics are quite different know. Even the white people in the South include descendants of people who fought on the Union side. If a Governor seeks to arbitrarily assert independence or does so through the state legislature, the result would be successions within the state. In other words, a state that secedes will immediately face the reality of internal secession.

My recommendation has been that he Confederate states need to divide into their Union and Confederate components anyway. That still remains the only political solution even though it has zero traction nationally. However, if any state attempts to secede, it would lead to the division of the state into its distinct parts. At that point, the people bellowing for withdrawal will have to eat their words when they see how little of the state would actually join them.

STEVE BANNON

So far, the most practical action Trumpicans can and are taking is following the playbook of seditionist Steve Bannon. His calls for a grassroots effort to control the country already is occurring. He has identified local elections as the point of vulnerability. Few people run for these offices such as school boards and election officials. An organized voting bloc can propel their candidates to victory. Indeed, that is precisely the purpose of the off-election year non-November elections in the first place. Don’t let local elections get caught up in the hullabaloo generated by state and federal elections. Keep them under the radar so the established leaders and their friends can dominate them.

Bannon proposes a tried and true method for winning local elections. Of course, the opposition is quite capable of catching on to what is happening. Still, the national effort to coordinate a local takeover is something only Communists have been accused of in the past. Whether or not it can swing a national election remains to be seen. The more likely result is incessant confrontations at school board meetings.

Bannon’s local strategy mirrors what the Hitman has called for.

If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt.

One logical outgrowth of the Bannon strategy as reflected in this call for nationwide protest, is that January 6, 2025, will be a day of nationwide protests similar to what happened after the murder of George Floyd. While such demonstrations and counter-demonstrations at the local level will tax and exhaust local law enforcement and National Guard, it seems unlikely that they would cause a reversal in the certification vote in Congress.

COULD NANCY PELOSI BECOME THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT?; A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

That was the title of my blog on April 3, 2020. The question asked in the blog was:

Is it possible that as of January 20, 2021, that the Electoral College will not have elected anyone to the two highest offices in the land?

I did not factor the January 6 certification into my calculations. It was not something I had really given any thought to back then.

The issue raised was suppose there were so many legal challenges that they could not all be resolved in time for the scheduled inauguration (or certification). If there was no duly certified winner, then the incumbent does not get to stay in office until everything is resolved. Even Rudy Giuliani had to step down as mayor after 9/11 because his term was up. So too at the presidential level. On January 20, the term expires and if there is no duly certified President then the Speaker of the House becomes President. Hello, Nancy Pelosi, the first female President.

Of course she would pick Joe Biden to her Vice President. Once confirmed by the Senate, Pelosi would shortly afterwards retire and Joe Biden would become the President.

This rumination presumes Democratic control of the two Houses. It is also quite possible that both Houses will be awash in legal challenges of their own. Next time, an attack on the Presidential vote means an attack on the whole ballot and not just the top one. The legal turmoil would extend not only to the House of Representatives and the Senate but to the state level. Both Governors and state legislature results would be on hold until the validity of vote is certified. Who knows what state governments would even be in place or who would be in Congress as of January 1, 2025? In short, there could be a complete meltdown. I am not saying this will happen. I am saying it is a possibility. The legal civil war could be far more extensive than a physical civil war.

And then there is the 14th Amendment. On February 1, 2022, Bruce Ackerman and Gerard Magliocca published “Biden vs. Trump: The Makings of a Shattering Constitutional Crisis.” They also proposed a sequence of events whereby the (unnamed) Speaker of the House could be President. Specifically, they focused on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment called the Disqualification Clause. It expressly bars any person from holding “any office, civil or military, under the United States” if he “engaged in insurrection” against the Constitution after previously swearing to uphold it “as an officer of the United States.” Could it be applied in 2024?

Right now we are witnessing its application in North Carolina at the Congressional level with Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The authors suggest the same technique could be used in 2024 against the chief insurrectionist. One may add that the more the House Select Committee and the Department of Justice use that term “insurrectionist” the more individual states are likely to do the same to disqualify the Hitman. One possible outcome is that his name will not appear on the ballot in all fifty states.

The article proceeds to describe various scenarios with massive demonstrations if the disqualification is applied. Realistically, there are too many variables to factor to know what will happen. For example, the authors assume that there will be a Congress in place. That well may be true for representatives from unchallenged states and holdovers in the Senate but who knows what will have been resolved by January 1 in the challenged states. The authors propose some remedies in anticipation of this imbroglio just as a bipartisan group is working on revisions to the Electoral College law.

But in all these configurations, one obvious one is being overlooked – suppose Biden legitimately loses the election, what if Trumpicans do not need to rig the election to win? What will Democrats do then? How will you know if the results are legitimate or not? Should Biden vacate the White House then? What will the impact of the House Select Committee and the criminal investigations be? When I first started writing about political action thrillers on January 3, 2020, I had no idea that Hollywood could not match the real world and at this point no one really knows what will happen.

Steve Bannon in Court: So What?

The Ghost of Bannon Future (nypost.com/2021/11/17)

This week marked a change in the investigation of the Hitman’s assault on America in his attempt to steal the election and overthrow the Constitution. One of the leading confederates in this effort surrendered himself to the Court in response to his defiance of a House subpoena. His action including his public media antics have generated much discussion while obscuring the most important fact. The true question to be asked of the legal proceedings is “So what?”

Let’s examine a possible sequence of events and their meaning for the upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024.

STEVE BANNON

Bannon played a pivotal role in the insurrection of 1/6. He was the public voice. He was the one extolling the importance of this critical event in American history. He brought a sense of the historic even apocalyptic drama about to enfold. Bannon placed the events in its cosmic importance and called on Trumpicans to participate in this great day in American history.

He has no wish to say so under oath to the House committee. He understands the consequences of saying under oath what he said on the radio. He knows that these actions he advocated and the planning he participated in with others will be deemed criminal and seditious by the very people he was seeking to overthrow. Hence the defiance. He has more to gain from the national spotlight on his every utterance than he has to lose inside the courthouse or before the House 1/6 committee.

Suppose he loses the case in Court. Suppose after however long it takes including appeals, there comes a time when he is found guilty and stands for punishment. Will he be sentenced for two years or concurrent 30-day terms? Will he receive probation? Will his fine be minor and easily paid off by loyal Trumpicans? Will it cause him to testify under oath, to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and to incriminate himself? Obviously not. After going through these process the net result still will be no testimony.

The same sequence will be repeated with all the other participants in the attempted coup who are subpoenaed. What do they have to gain by testifying under the oath and telling the truth to the House committee? The answer is nothing. The people who are guilty of sedition have nothing to gain by admitting that they helped the Hitman’s attempt to steal the election and overthrow the government. Possibly one individual might seek a deal: to tell the truth in exchange for not being indicted in the final report. And that is the key. The final report and not these legal maneuverings is the key in determining whether the effort by the House committee was worth it.

THE HOUSE REPORT  

Consider what has happened so far. Over 150 people voluntarily have given testimony to the House Committee. Additional information is available from the public comments of various individuals such as Bannon and from published books detailing exactly how the Vice President was to steal the election. Simply based on the information provided so far, the House committee could write a narrative about the Hitman’s attempt to steal the election and overthrow the Constitution.

More information is coming. True, there has been a delay in the transfer of records from the National Archives to the House committee. Once those legal hurdles have been overcome there is likely to be a veritable gusher of data pouring onto the Committee. It will be as if it had struck the mother lode. There will be so much information there that the narrative of the final report will read like a Hollywood script as indeed it will be one day.

In addition, there may be information from the case unfolding in Georgia.

In short, the House committee will not need the testimony of the insurrection instigators to have sufficient date to indict all of them for sedition. This is not to say that the information from the co-conspirators would not be welcomed, only that it is not necessary to compile a damning indictment of all the people who refused to tell the House committee the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The concern for Bannon, Meadows, et.al. is not what is going to happen for defying the subpoenas, but what will happen when they are charged with sedition by the House.

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

The true moment of truth will come the DOJ receives the House report calling for the indictments of multiple participants in the insurrection including the former President of the United States. Each and every person will not necessarily be charged with the exact same counts but all the people who obstructed the investigation will be charged for their participation in the insurrection.

What will the DOJ do then? So far most of the chronological discussion has been around the narrow window of the investigating committee. Everyone knows it needs to be done prior to Trump’s Traitors taking over the House. Informally, the Committee seems to be aiming for a (late) spring date to have a completed report with or without the recalcitrant participants. One can anticipate a report based on the evidence it has including the data from the National Archives. The House committee should be done in time.

In time for what? The general rule is no politically-related indictment after Labor Day when the election campaign “officially” begins. This means roughly, the DOJ will have the summer to decide whether or not to indict anyone for sedition and whatever other charges are included in the report. One of the conspirators named in the report will be the former President himself.

At this point, there is no way to know what the DOJ will do in the summer of 2022. There is no way to know which people it will indict, when it will indict them, or who it will not indict. One possible scenario is to string indictments of the small fish prior to Labor Day. This means Bannon, Meadows, Clark, etc.,, all the underlings save for the Hitman himself.

2022 ELECTION

Normally the midterm election in a first–term President is seen as an opportunity for out-of-power Party to gain seats. Certainly everyone anticipates that scenario will be followed even without the added benefit of voter suppression and gerrymandering. However, this time we will have two presidents. Strange as it might seem the leading issue after the House report is completed may not be the economy or Covid Instead it will be:

Is Joe Biden the legitimate President of the United States and should Donald Trump be held accountable for his effort to steal the election and overthrow the Constitution?

Or

 

Is Donald Trump the legitimate President of the United States and should Joe Biden (and his Vice President) be removed from office due to his successful steal of the election?

If the latter prevails, expect a new House committee to investigate the steal leading to an impeachment in the House but insufficient votes in the Senate to remove Biden.

Everything going on now is just foreplay. If Trumpicans take control of the House and Senate effectively there will be no government for two years save by Executive Order. The President will be spending most of his fending off repeated impeachment attacks and investigations from the Trumpican-controlled House.  It well may be that rather than have to wait for 2024 election for division of America into the United States of Trump and the United States of America, it may happen after the 2022 elections. Whether or not America can function in those circumstances remains to be seen. Stay focused on the 2022 election and let’s see if we make it to 2024. Maybe some Congressional Republicans will go rogue and caucus with the Democrats …

New York City Council Endorses Donald Trump for President: This Isn’t an April Fools Joke

NYC Public Design Commission calls for toppling statues of slave-owner Ramses II at Abu Simbel (Wikepedia)

In a stunning and surprising move the Public Design Commission in New York City voted to endorse Donald Trump for the presidency in 2024. Amazingly, this action was taken three years before the election. It occurred in a jurisdiction that voted overwhelmingly against him in both 2016 and 2020. One might legitimately wonder why the Commission is so eager to encourage people to vote for Trump.

To answer that question, one should consider two facets of the puzzle: the historical and the political. The decision by the Commission to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson from the Council chambers is both a political issue for the election itself (and possibly the 2022 Congressional elections as well) and an historical one as America prepares for the 250th anniversary of the signing of a document Jefferson wrote at the birth of the country.

NEW YORK AND THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY

During the 2021 legislative session, the New York State Senate and Assembly authorized the creation of a state commission for the 250th. Besides the obvious historical reasons for such a commission, as a matter of procedure, federal money for the 250th will be distributed through state commissions. Therefore it behooves states to create such commissions.

The bill is waiting for the Governor signature. Under the previous Governor, bills like this one tended to linger until the fourth quarter when they would be authorized. As an example, the bill for the quadricentennial of the non-New York 1619 event was not finally signed until 2020, meaning after the anniversary had occurred. A commission was to be created perhaps to be made public in March, 2020. That also was the time of covid, so in the end there never was a 1619 Quadricentennial Commission in New York.

A similar delay will not occur here. The new Governor obviously is quite busy right now including preparing for her own election campaign in 2022. I have been told that she soon will sign the bill. It definitely is to her advantage to own the 250th as New York was very involved in the American Revolution and in its continued legacy.

In some ways, there is no rush. While the Federal program is gearing towards 2026, things in New York will just be getting started then and will continue until Evacuation Day, November 25, 2033. In fact, the first big event in New York occurred just after July 4, 1776. The event is the toppling of the statue of King George III on July 9, 1776, at Bowling Green, just a few blocks from City Hall and the city council chambers.

So the first big event in New York as part of the 250th will be the response by New Yorkers to the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Undoubtedly this will be a big tourist event. The toppling of the statue will be re-enacted. Perhaps there will even be a convoy to Connecticut where the metal from the bronze statue became bullets for the Patriot army. The only one missing from this Declaration event will be Thomas Jefferson. He will be missing because:

“Jefferson embodies some of the most shameful parts of our country’s history,” said Adrienne Adams, Queens, co-chair Black and Latino caucus, New York City Council.

One possible disposition of the statue under discussion is to the New-York Historical Society. However in response to that suggestion current New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron said:

“I don’t think it should go anywhere. I don’t think it should exist. I think it should be put in storage or destroyed or whatever.”

The physical removal of Thomas Jefferson from the New York City Council chambers is easier than cancelling him from the American Revolution and its legacy. The legacy of the Declaration continued on in the efforts to end slavery in the United States. The legacy of the Declaration continued on in the efforts of white women to gain the same rights as white men. The legacy of the Declaration continues on to this very as an ideal by which to measure ourselves and to bend the arc of history. But not in the New York City Council. Will it cancel George Washington too?

THE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS

Why do I say the action of the Public Design Commission in New York City is an endorsement of Trump? I certainly do not mean to suggest that the individual members of the Commission support him or want other people to vote for him. I am saying that their actions encourage people to vote for him. The Commission has taken a stand in the culture wars. Not everyone agrees with that decision or supports that side in the culture wars.

At this point there is no reason to pretend that we are not a divided country. We are an intensely polarized country. Masks have been weaponized. Vaccinations have been weaponized. 1619 has been weaponized. The American flag itself has been weaponized. People who fly it or show it or have it painted on a truck are presumed to have a particular political and cultural point of view. In an article entitled “A Fourth of July Symbol that May No Longer Unite”( NYT 7/3/21), the issue of the connection between the flag and a political party was raised. Peter Treiber, a farmer who has a flag painted on his potato truck, often is presumed to have political views which he does not share. He is concerned that the left has all but ceded the flag to the right.

Joe Biden, of course, embraces the flag. But in the Democratic Party, he is the remnant of the dying past and not the wave of the future. One should always keep in mind that he is the only Democrat who could have defeated Trump in 2020 and at this point is the only Democrat with a chance of beating him in 2024. There is no Plan B. Whether Democrats understand that or not is problematical. Whether the Woke care or not is even more problematical.

One should understand the Woke actions of the Public Design Commission in this light. For those toppling, removing, cancelling or whatever Thomas Jefferson, the joy and satisfaction may be fleeting. At the same time the Commission was taking this action, columnist Tom Friedman appeared on CNN. First he appeared on Anderson Cooper and then portions of the interview were replayed by Don Lemon. Clearly they understand the importance of the message Friedman is delivering: “Our next presidential election could well be our last as a shining example of democracy (September 29, 2021, print).

Friedman did not really say anything new, only more emphatically and with greater urgency. His recent op-ed piece asked “Have We Reshaped Middle East Politics or Started to Mimic It? (September 15, 2021, print). We now have Sunnis and Shiites where an “epidemic of tribal political correctness from the left served only to energize the tribal solidarity on the right.” His thinks Democrats are digging themselves into a hole and should stop digging. He defines American as a center-left to center-right country. By contrast the politically-correct-Woke-Progressives are all left all the time. And they communicate in an elitist derogatory manner. Whereas Trumpicans claim the Joe Biden presidency is illegitimate, the Woke claim the country of the United States is illegitimate born in original sin. Far from accepting the advice of Friedman to tone it down, they will instead double down.

The political consequences for the Woke assault on the legitimacy of the United States will be detrimental to the Democrats. It did not help them in 2020 Senate and House elections. The Virginia governorship is at risk this year. It will not help Democrats in the 2022 elections. It already is taken for granted that the Democrats will lose the House of Representatives. Then the January 6 Committee will be replaced by the first of the impeach Joe Biden committees. At the moment the 2020 presidential candidate loser is going like gangbusters within his own party and chomping at the bit to declare his candidacy for 2024. He can smell the blood in the Biden polls.

In the meantime, America’s third civil war rages on. It is being fought at the local level in school districts throughout the country. School Board members are seeking protection. Covid has enabled parents to see online what is being taught in the schools. People can relate to 1619, systemic racism, critical race theory, and diversity-equity-inclusion in their own communities. They can see which party waves the American flag and which does not. They can see which party praises the Founding Fathers and which party topples them. There are plenty of online venues where these issues are being discussed. The front-page headline of my local paper today (October 24) is “Are schools making progress on diversity?” Parents already are voting with their feet to remove children from republic schools and to recall school board members. They are energized.

These issues go right to the gut of voters. America’s greatest con artist can fake being a patriot, the Woke cannot. One should keep in mind that regardless of the vote in 2024, roughly half the country will not accept the results or even agree on the results. The only real issue is what happens then.