On Monday I woke from fitful, too short sleep, to brood about three issues that are no longer torturing me. I needed a couple of more hours of sleep, but my brain was boiling, thoughts leaping from one supremely annoying scenario to the next. I got up and began hammering at the keyboard in an attempt to tire myself enough to get back to sleep.
My plan didn’t work, all the annoyances, especially in exhausting combination, retained their power to keep me awake. A fucking doctor, a negligent dermatologist in a hurry that necessitated a second biopsy to confirm what I went to him complaining of in October, nonchalantly illustrating the often cancerous nature of profit-driven, unaccountable American corporate medicine; some money-related trouble that also involved apparent disrespect; and the thought of the upcoming high-stakes runoff election in Georgia and a short, persuasive letter I wanted to write, print and mail to the same people I’d sent postcards to in Georgia. The deadline clock ticking loudly on the second and third of these items. These three nagging thoughts tag teamed me all morning, and took turns buggering me, into the afternoon and evening.
When you are fresh you can tackle whatever it is you need to deal with and often make short work of it. You tend not to let a couple of random annoyances become a solid, ominous wall you cannot get over, under or around. In an exhausted state, as most of us are on this extraordinary and isolated Christmas Eve during a disorienting plague, overseen by a depraved administration, three random troubles are more than enough to poison your day.
All day Monday I was grumpy as hell, overtired and overwhelmed after short sleep, I could not sleep it off or rouse myself from my mood. Sekhnet could do little to help, except to be nimble jumping back when I lunged to bite her. Yesterday she was in a similar state to my Monday malaise, her mouth a determined frown I could not move, no matter how puckish I attempted to be.
A couple of random thoughts that could bring a touch of good cheer and then I’m off for a nap. I’m afraid they are Trump-related and I warn you of this in the event you understandably want to tune out. To me, they are a bit of upside as our attention-craving Executioner-in-Chief kills a last bunch of federal death row inmates, ignores another few thousand American deaths of COVID-19, keeps claiming that the election he openly tried his best to steal was stolen from HIM, rages that he’s surrounded by traitors in his own party, and scrawls his jagged Sharpie signature on the pardons of more of his friends and co-conspirators.
A pardon, and pardon me if you know this, removes any jeopardy for the crime you were pardoned for. You can’t be punished in any way for anything connected to the crime you were pardoned for, you can’t incriminate yourself in that matter. 86 of the so far 94 pardons Trump has granted so far were given to people personally connected to our transactional president. A number of them were convicted for lying under oath to protect Mr. Trump by dummying up about or falsifying information that could put Trump in legal hot water.
Now that they’ve been pardoned, in many cases completing a typical Trumpian quid pro quo, there is no problem forcing them to testify about what they were involved in. There’s no possibility of double jeopardy, self-incrimination or punishment for the original crime. Guys like Manafort, Stone, Flynn, perjurers and obstructers already convicted of lying to protect their benefactor (let’s gratuitously add the demented Giuliani and the blustering Barr to this list, Merry Christmas!), will have a very hard time not lying to a grand jury when direct questions are put to them by skilled attorneys. When they lie again under oath they commit a brand new crime of perjury that the presidential pardon has no effect on. Like their buddy the president, they are not strictly capable of not lying when cornered.
That thought cheers me up on an otherwise fairly bleak Christmas Eve.
Former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen is already serving a prison sentence for a conspiracy committed with and at the instigation of co-conspirator Individual One. That unnamed party is Donald Trump. That gives me a little bit of Christmas cheer, even as Trump no doubt has Legal Kraken Sidney Powell crafting the overblown language of his self-pardon even as I tap out these pissy words.
A pattern demonstrating corrupt intent can be shown as evidence of a key element required to prove obstruction of justice (as Mueller showed when presenting at least ten instances of this pattern to establish Trump’s modus operandi in trying to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation into the 140 known instances of cooperation between the Trump campaign and Putin — something he eventually succeeded in thwarting when he hired Bill Barr). When Trump preemptively pardons Louis DeJoy, or Rudy, or Igor and Lev, it will be another tile in the seamless mosaic of the president’s corrupt intent to cover his crimes by pardoning his co-conspirators. If Trump had run these pardons by the office of the Presidential Pardon Attorney, as is the standard practice, he probably would have known this. In Trumpworld, however, nobody is smarter, cannier or a more stable genius (or a more “perfect physical specimen” or more “extremely young”) than Trump.
Yes, yes, politics is exhausting and Trump is exhausting as a matter of his chaotic and domineering personality and his insanity. No, the Democratic party, as a party, has shown little to no courage in making a compelling case to America about much. Yes, unfettered corporate power is choking democracy to death and it firmly controls the party of Pelosi and Schumer. Understood, but still.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated his campaign smashed the old record for inauguration donations raised. The DA of the District of Columbia is done with the discovery phase of his lawsuit against the Trumps for self-dealing, fraud and illegally profiteering off the presidency. The amount at stake is a paltry million dollars, and Ivanka, who was deposed recently, denounced the lawsuit on twitter as another baseless Democrat witch hunt against her father . Of course, that doesn’t explain why a ballroom at the fabulous D.C. Trump Hotel that a conservative Christian group rented for $5,000 that same week cost the Inauguration $175,000 a day to rent. Money that went directly into the Trump family coffers, along with a ton of other money raised that was not accounted for. Like the more than half billion that was funneled opaquely through the slush fund Jared set up for dad-in-law, Ivanka and family.
Sure, abuse of power is no longer illegal for a president to engage in, that’s only politics. Obstruction of justice, same deal, depends on whether the person you obstruct is a complete asshole who is biased against you. Corruption is in the eye of the beholder, which is why Trump has made a point to find and pardon the greatest and most notorious scumbags he can. War crimes? No such thing, it’s like abuse of power, a charge with a simple, irrefutable answer: fuck you.
The thing that encourages me at this sickening moment for our nation, as the barking mad president organizes rallies for himself that he hopes will kick off a violent revolution to keep him in power, is that decency is more powerful than cruelty. We wise apes have a bias toward justice, toward seeing karma play out fairly.
It may not seem like that way much of the time, especially at this moment in history, and we can argue about whether some of our top leaders are sociopaths or psychopaths, or merely just very competitive, empathy-challenged lying narcissists, but the human instinct is for decency. I believe even people who seem like angry idiots, when given the sudden choice between saving a baby or letting the kid get killed, will scoop the kid up and talk soothingly to her.
Of course, Anne Frank thought the same thing and things went badly for her. Still, it’s a comforting thought on this eve of the birth of the Prince of Peace, the gentle, godly son of the Creator who taught that it is a blessing to protect the meek, to… ah, you know the drill. Merry Christmas, everybody.
Regarding the criminal investigation by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Ivanka tweeted:
“This is harassment, pure and simple. This ‘inquiry’ by NYC Democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless.”
A lawyer for the Trump Organization did not provide a statement to us on a possible indictment by the Manhattan D.A., or on the charges he is considering.
In legal papers, Donald Trump’s legal team has said Vance’s inquiry is “bad faith,” and an “overbroad fishing expedition.” Trump’s lawyers have stated in response to news reports there was “no fraud or tax evasion by anyone.”
Ivanka Trump tweeted about Vance’s investigation: “This is harassment, pure and simple. This ‘inquiry’ by NYC Democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless.”