Like-minded, extremely conservative inheritors of intergenerational wealth don’t need to meet secretly in dark rooms, (though they also do that), to advance their common schemes. Not a criminal conspiracy in the strict legal sense, but a commonality of interests that leads them to act as one to advance identical goals.
Their useful idiot Trump is not a player of three-dimensional chess or even checkers, he’s an angry member of their exclusive, entitled club, which runs on imagined grievance as it plays to the passion of millions of enraged grievants on theground.
We now have three new carefully vetted extremist Supreme Court Justices, appointed by a twice impeached president who sought and accepted the help of Vladimir Putin, after his party abolished the filibuster to push three judicial extremists, none of whom got close to 60 votes (Gorsuch led them with a robust 54 ayes). His side is set up to win every ideologically driven case 6-3, or at worst 5-4. Give ’em this, Nazis never sleep, and, though likely to commit suicide when it all turns to shit,they’re bold.
Texas, the hang ’em high state, has just given vigilantes a win-win bounty to turn in anybodywho might be thinking of helping someone get an abortion still legal under Roe v. Wade. This newly deputuzed army of religious zealot Christian Soldier bounty hunters are free, in Texas, to carry guns they no longer need permits for. FiveunappealableNazisgive the temporary thumbs up to the administratively innovative Texas scheme. What could go wrong?
Corporate Democrats, who carefully weigh every action while studying the polls and consulting their most generous donors, are capable of spending months thinking about and debating their timid counter-actions, for example whether they have an absolute right to investigate a bloody riot at the Capitol designed to overturn the 2020 election, or protect the right to vote, or whether the Constitution will allow the creation of five more seats on the Supreme Court to restore a semblance of credibility to our highest court (spoiler, it will).Nazis, on the other hand, do not hesitate, they follow their shock troops into the breach.
How about we open a bunch of federal abortion clinics in Texas, deputize Texas doctors to provide abortions legal under federal law (credit to Elie Mystal) until the lower federal court can rule on this creatively unconstitutional new lynch mob law? Too radical?Will it make violent Nazis too angry? Why not find out, in the name of protecting the rights of our most vulnerable?
Good analysis of our out of control, radical 6-3 Federalist Society Supreme Court, by Jamelle Bouie:
In the Dead of Night, the Supreme Court Proved It Has Too Much Power
The men who drafted and fought over the blueprint for the American experiment in democracy began with the famous words “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…” and then set out a plan they hoped would establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to the people and the people’s posterity. Of course, at the time, “the people” was understood to exclude the majority of humanity, women were to have no political say, Blacks were not universally considered human, let alone part of “the people”, indigenous Americans were excluded as were poor “white” men and many others over the years.
After the bloody Civil War the constitution was amended to include former slaves, and anyone else born in the United States, as citizens with Privileges and Immunities subject to Equal Protection by the federal government. Immediate steps were taken, notably by the Supreme Court, to thwart this change, but it is written into the Bible of American democracy and would eventually, almost a century later, after decades of court battles and bloody street protests, become enforceable law. Of course, it would be more than half a century after the end of the Civil War, after a long fight, before women got the vote, but the animating idea of “a more perfect union” seems to have been that democracy is an evolving work in progress, infinitely perfectible.
Resistance to this progress has always been the work of reactionaries, conservatives, the organized right. In every era they united to oppose the evolution of democracy. Their game is always perpetuity– keeping things as they are and making sure the status quo never fundamentally changes. Some have advanced shrewd arguments for their view that the way things are is about as good as it can be, advanced theories that showed the dangers of including everyone in democracy, they raised the terrifying specters of Socialism and COMMUNISM. Others simply did the grunt work to make sure people they didn’t like couldn’t vote, couldn’t get their day in court, couldn’t stand on rights guaranteed to them in the constitution. The most intellectually ambitious reactionaries created high-minded philosophies to justify their reactionary views. The Originalists, for example, hold a judicial philosophy that minimizes the radically democratizing changes to the Constitution made after the Civil War, always harkening back to the “intent of the framers,” the original wealthy white men who hammered out the original slavery-protecting “Originalist” Constitution almost a century earlier.
There are scholars who point out, with ample proofs, that the post-Civil War Constitution is a radically redesigned blueprint much more in line with a modern, ethnically diverse, largely urban, non-slave holding democracy than the unamended Originalist version. Radicals on the left want to create fundamental change in their lifetimes, not just plant seeds that will germinate a few generations from now. They recognize that time is running out to fix a badly dysfunctional system. “Moderates” are the “reasonable” compromisers who advocate a middle ground, some changes are needed, they concede, but change is best achieved in small, sometimes imperceptible increments.
Reactionaries, for whatever reason, always seem more energetic, better funded, more fanatical, more devoted, better organized, more relentless and readier to resort to any means necessary to achieve their aim of keeping things just the way they are. The reactionaries of their day said “fine, you have the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments — we have States’ Rights!” and one of the rights of those states was to find workarounds for the new prohibition against slavery (the clause “except as punishment for a crime” came in handy), the Supreme Court helped out with the 14th, leaving virtually every detail of federal citizenship in the hands of the states until 1964, and, as for the right of American-born Blacks to vote… whell, there are ways to squash that shit, right at the polls. if they don’t get the message with the damned lynchings and having their damned homes burned to the ground. As for blocking all federal legislation to stop lynching, or enforce the unalienable human rights (in a democracy) we call Civil Rights, we have the filibuster!
Adam Jentleson, who recently wrote a history of how the filibuster, almost always used to advance slavery and then segregation, came to cripple the Senate, had an op-ed in the NY Times the other day entitled When Will Biden Join the Fight for Voting Rights? He begins by setting out all that Biden has accomplished with a mere 50 votes in the Senate, deftly sidestepping the filibuster to provide funds to fight Covid-19, to give economic relief to millions, to lift millions of children out of poverty. He then points out that racism at law has always required, under the filibuster, a supermajority to rein it in.
During the Jim Crow era, the Senate held long, contentious debates on the bills that built the middle class, such as Social Security or Medicare, but none of those bills needed to get a supermajority to proceed. By contrast, popular bills to stop lynching, end poll taxes and fight workplace discrimination faced endless filibusters, and were blocked by supermajority thresholds. While Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats aren’t intentionally recreating such an unfair system, in practice, they are, perpetuating the same double standard that upheld Jim Crow for almost a century.
But they can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. In March, during his first speech on the Senate floor, Senator Raphael Warnock argued that “no Senate rule should overrule the integrity of our democracy.” If Senate rules happen to preserve what Warnock called “Jim Crow in new clothes,” just as they preserved the original version, they must be reformed. For Democratic leaders, this means finding the political will to never again allow bills that guarantee equal access to voting and representation to suffer unequal treatment.
Recall that on the day Warnock was declared the winner of the Georgia runoff for Senator, a mob carrying the Confederate flag stormed the Capitol, injuring 140 Blue Lives Matter officers in hand to hand combat to prevent the final certification of the winner of the presidential election. Reactionaries will always do whatever it takes. If it takes a lynch mob, so be it. The hopped up grunts, as always, will go to prison, meantime, we get what we need — a violent, galvanizing argument to rally our side.
All the rest of us have is law and the enforcement of law. If a parliamentary rule prevents any action in the Senate, if even one defiant member of the opposition party registers an intention to “filibuster”, there has to be a way to fix this. Jentleson, a former Senate staffer, offers a workaround to those who claim, incorrectly, that the filibuster is about protecting “bipartisanship.”
[S]enators can reclaim their right to shape the rules of the Senate even when doing so runs afoul of the parliamentarian, a staff member whose influence has grown dramatically in recent decades as senators lost faith in their ability to interpret Senate rules. Up until now, senators have enthusiastically abused the spirit of reconciliation while adhering, with comic devotion, to its letter; they use it to pass trillions in spending but studiously discard the provisions the parliamentarian deems insufficiently “budgetary,” such as a minimum wage increase. But only senators and the vice president preside over and vote in the Senate, and they have final say over what gets included in reconciliation bills. Rather than acting as automatons who simply read the rulings that the staff hands them (literally), they can include civil rights in the forthcoming reconciliation bill and, when the parliamentarian rules against it, Vice President Kamala Harris can issue her own ruling countermanding the parliamentarian. Fifty senators can sustain Harris’s ruling and pass voting rights, without ever having to vote to alter the filibuster itself.
Senators can also simply reform the rules to ensure that civil rights bills are treated equally. Given the Senate’s ugly history of blocking such legislation, there is ample justification for targeted filibuster reforms to ensure that civil rights bills receive majority votes.
Of course, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema oppose ending the filibuster, and imbue bipartisanship with lofty importance. But at the end of the day, it is up to Mr. Biden to bring home the small number of votes needed to end the tiered system that forces voting rights legislation to garner supermajorities in the Senate, while other bills sail through with just 50 votes.
Biden has the bully pulpit now and Jentleson argues that he must do everything in his considerable power to rally his party to the cause of protecting voting rights, federal enforcement of which has been systematically dismantled by the reactionary majority on the Supreme Court. If the many Republican state voter suppression laws are allowed to stand unchallenged (except in courts where resolution of the issues is years away) then we will have, in the next election, a gerrymandered Republican majority, in the House and likely also in the Senate (two for each state, populations be damned). Then, under existing parliamentary rules, anything else Biden has planned will be subject to the mockery of an obstructionist right-wing joke. Ta ta to bipartisanship and democracy, both. Welcome to the One Party United States of Charles Koch and friends.
. . . it is impossible to look at the effort Mr. Biden has devoted to voting rights until now and conclude that he is pulling out all the stops. His heart does not seem to be in this fight. Instead of pressing for the reforms necessary to pass these bills with 50 votes, he has defended the filibuster, while his administration has been challenging civil rights leaders to “out-organize” the Republicans who have implemented systematic, state-sanctioned voter suppression. Many find his stance naïve. “‘Just count the jellybeans’ is a helluva strategy,” political analyst Bakari Sellers tweeted in frustration.
The effort Mr. Biden poured into infrastructure shows what genuine commitment from the White House looks like. While the president has given one major speech dedicated to voting rights, he has held numerous speeches and events on infrastructure, sending the signal that the issue is a top priority. His cabinet and staff practically camped out on Capitol Hill. By late July, according to Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein, his staff had held at least 998 meetings and calls on infrastructure; the office of legislative affairs had held 330 meetings and calls with members of Congress and their top aides in the previous month alone.
Mr. Biden has invited comparisons to President Lyndon Johnson, but Mr. Johnson paired accomplishments like Medicare with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Then, as now, the task was deemed so daunting that some cautioned against investing too much of the president’s political capital in the effort. By the time of his assassination, President John F. Kennedy had let segregationists take civil rights hostage to his top domestic priority: a tax cut.
But when Mr. Johnson’s advisers counseled him to give up on civil rights, too, he shot back, “What the hell is the presidency for?” He personally intervened to get the civil rights bill to the floor, then forced his former mentor, fellow Democrat and self-avowed white supremacist, Senator Richard Russell, to lead a filibuster for roughly three months, betting that he could crack an obstructionist front that had remained solid since Reconstruction ended in 1877. Mr. Johnson had to deal with more than a few reluctant senators — most of those filibustering the civil rights bill were Democrats. To beat them, Mr. Johnson did not use magic powers. He simply spent months working every angle, relentlessly.
If Mr. Biden fails where Mr. Johnson succeeded, he will have left intact the system of legislative segregation that preserved Jim Crow. Whatever else he accomplishes, that will remain part of his legacy.
The president may try everything and fail. But the stakes are so high, he has to try.
As Joe Biden himself has said many times — come on, man!
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, the man who heroically tried to keep his boss Donald Trump in power by amplifying Trump’s absurd and false claims after the Orange Polyp lost the election, no doubt fancies himself a man of principle. Most fascists believe they are serving a higher calling that does not require them to play by the ordinary rules, rules made for weaklings. They operate with urgency, goaded by a sense of outraged grievance. As Trump said during his long exhortation on January 6, before sending an angry mob down to gently hug and kiss the Capitol Police: “when you catch somebody in a fraud you’re allowed to go by a different set of rules.” Indeed.
Today Jeffery Clark, a man who went by a very different set of rules (“alternative rules”) that included attempts to have the DOJ knowingly lie to keep Trump in power, heads the New Civil Liberties Alliance, the extreme right-wing outfit that is dragging universities into courts to challenge mask mandates and trying to get the eviction moratorium lifted. You know, NEW civil liberties. A reminder of what fascists actually stand for, from that great article on the shady history of American fascism that I cited the other day:
Fascism is not a principled or ideological stand; it is the politics of grievance, an instrumentalist response to a political situation it perceives as unacceptable. Fascism is the counter-revolutionary politics of force, justified by ultra-nationalism, glorified by myths of regeneration and purification, performed by masculine cults of personality and sold as the will of the people.
After Hitler launched a bloody and failed insurrection in Munich, 1923, his famous Beer Hall Putsch, a sympathetic right wing judge in the scrupulously democratic Weimar Republic gave him a platform to make patriotic speeches to his fellow citizens, day after day. He got a slap on the wrist by way of a sentence, for treason, a short stay in plush accommodations in Landsberg Prison. He emerged as a national celebrity with a book to sell.
After Trump launched a bloody and failed insurrection on January 6, a quick, failed second impeachment and … crickets. Sure he’s been harshly punished by Twitter, and Facebook tiptoes around a temporary ban until, presumably, the incorrigible liar changes his stripes, but otherwise . . . crickets. Where are the federal charges? Where is the indictment in Georgia for his seditious recorded call to Raffensberger during which he violated every clause of the Georgia criminal law regarding interference in elections? It’s mystifying and disquieting that, even with the Fourteenth Amendment specifically banning insurrectionists from holding public office, the man who has always played by radically different rules is poised to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024, perhaps after serving as savage, punishing Speaker of the House for a couple of years.
It is exhausting to repeat that American democracy itself hangs in the balance, as the forces of democracy fret about the right thing to do, while the well-funded friends of fascism are busy day and night planning and carrying out the next steps in their decades-long campaign for one-party rule. 51 votes in the Senate would end the filibuster, or carve out an exception for voting rights, which should not be in question more than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act the now supermajority right-wing Supreme Court has been vivisecting in recent years.
The 51 principled votes to limit or abolish the filibuster could be there, should be there, except that Kirsten Synema insists on performing her quirky, haughty, mavericky dance, Joe Manchin meets with oil and coal barons to get his orders, and Dianne Feinstein, who gushed at Miss Lindsey Graham’s graciousness while shoving Federalist Society superstar Amy Coney-Barrett down the nation’s throat, sits on the fence, referring obliquely to some higher principle about compromise. Trump’s people have no such scruples.
America’s journal of record, the venerable Grey Lady, has a consistent tic that drives me mad. It also undermines the paper’s famous credibility and detracts from its often excellent investigative reporting. The tic is unrelated to the paper’s commitment to good writing (most of the material in the New York Times is well-written) — it is a determination to appear objective at all costs that often teeters into misinforming readers. Here are two examples that leaped out at me the other day and grabbed me by the throat.
The article, entitled Former Acting Attorney General Testifies About Trump’s Efforts to Subvert Election begins:
WASHINGTON — Jeffrey A. Rosen, who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration, has told the Justice Department watchdog and congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald J. Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the interviews.
It is very good news that Rosen is speaking, voluntarily, to the Inspector General of the DOJ and a Senate Committee. Only good can come from Rosen confirming details of the depths that Trump was willing to go to to preserve his reign.
The article goes on to describe a Trumpist in the DOJ, Jeffrey Clark, who was working directly with his master to overturn the results of the 2020 election so that Trump could illegally remain in power. Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, Clark’s boss, asked Clark not to have further meetings with Trump alone. Clark continued to meet with Trump alone. The DOJ had announced, under Barr and under Rosen, that they had found no fraud on a level that could have changed the outcome of the presidential election. Clark pressed the DOJ to change its position to give traction to Trump’s Big Lie about the stolen election he claims to have won in a landslide. Clark drafted a letter to Georgia officials based on this unfounded lie, that he asked Rosen to sign. The New York Times:
Mr. Rosen also described subsequent exchanges with Mr. Clark, who continued to press colleagues to make statements about the election that they found to be untrue, according to a person familiar with the interview.
His colleagues “found them to be untrue” these statements Clark was pressuring them to make?
Clarification? Clark wanted them to make statements that the DOJ had investigated and found to be false, baseless, not based in evidence? Statements that some in the DOJ “found to be untrue”? An honest disagreement between colleagues in these highly charged partisan times? The Times, setting new standards for anodyne exposition? Seriously.
Then, as far as clarity, good writing, elegance of language in the service of informing readers:
He also discovered that Mr. Clark had been engaging in unauthorized conversations with Mr. Trump about ways to have the Justice Department publicly cast doubt on President Biden’s victory, particularly in battleground states that Mr. Trump was fixated on, like Georgia. Mr. Clark drafted a letter that he asked Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators, wrongly asserting that they should void Mr. Biden’s victory because the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in the state.
Such a letter would effectively undermine efforts by Mr. Clark’s colleagues to prevent the White House from overturning the election results, and Mr. Rosen and his top deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, rejected the proposal.
Idea for the copy editor, change one word to make this sentence more clear and more accurate:
falsely asserting that they should void Mr. Biden’s victory because the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in the state.
Look, it was false because the DOJ was not investigating accusations of voter fraud in the state when Clark wrote the letter. It was false because Clark knew that there were no ongoing investigations. It was knowingly false, because, in spite of knowing it, and three recounts in Georgia, Clark tried to get his boss to sign the false letter. I understand the Times may want to avoid implying intent on the part of Mr. Fucking Eichmann Clark, but “wrongly” is ambiguous, open-ended and just plain misleading. There are many reasons a person can be wrong, knowingly lying is only one.
Medal for most squeamishly anodyne sentence in the article, with a star for contortion:
Such a letter would effectively undermine efforts by Mr. Clark’s colleagues to prevent the White House from overturning the election results, and Mr. Rosen and his top deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, rejected the proposal.
Or, perhaps just a tad more accurately
The false letter Clark wanted his boss to sign would have put the acting AG on record as knowingly lying to overturn the election Mr. Trump continues to falsely insist he won, in a fucking landslide.
Come on, Grey Lady, we want to believe you’re better than this…
Opinion by Laurence H. Tribe, Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance  from the August 5, 2021 Washington Post:
As evidence of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election mounts, the time has come for the Justice Department to begin, if it hasn’t already, a criminal investigation of the former president’s dangerous course of conduct. Attorney General Merrick Garland has worked to restore the badly frayed public trust in a nonpartisan DOJ. But failing to investigate Trump just to demonstrate objectivity would itself be a political decision — and a grave mistake. If we are to maintain our democracy and respect for the rule of law, efforts to overturn a fair election simply cannot be tolerated, and Trump’s conduct must be investigated.
The publicly known facts suffice to open an investigation, now. They include Trump’s demand that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” 11,780 votes to declare he won that state’s election; Trump’s pressure on acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen as well as Vice President Mike Pence to advance the “big lie” that the election was stolen; the recently revealed phone call in which Trump directed Rosen to “just say the election was corrupt, [and] leave the rest to me,” and public statements by Trump and associates such as Rudolph W. Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks on Jan. 6 to incite the mob that stormed the Capitol.
None of these facts alone proves a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, but together they clearly merit opening a criminal investigation, which would allow prosecutors to obtain phone and text records, emails, memos and witness testimony to determine whether Trump should be charged
One possible charge is conspiracy. It is a federal crime for individuals to agree to defraud the United States by interfering with governmental functions. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III included such a conspiracy in his indictment against the Internet Research Agency, alleging the Russian group engaged in a conspiracy aimed at “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions” of government agencies.
An investigation could also explore whether Trump agreed with others — Giuliani, Brooks and possibly members of his inner circle — to obstruct Congress’s function of exercising its statutory duty to certify the election results on Jan. 6. By using disinformation to sow unfounded doubt, Trump and his allies may have tried to induce members of Congress to vote against certifying the election results, creating enough chaos to throw the election to the House, where Republicans controlled a majority of state delegations.
Another plausible charge is obstruction of an official proceeding. The relevant statute makes it a crime to corruptly obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding or attempt to do so. Agreeing with others to obstruct the Jan. 6 vote certification for a wrongful purpose and the commission of any act in furtherance of that agreement would suffice to prove a violation, putting Trump at the heart of a conspiracy, with his public statements and tweets constituting overt act
A related but distinct charge is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, “RICO,” which has often been used beyond its original intended target of organized crime. To prove RICO, the DOJ would need to establish that Trump was associated with an enterprise affecting interstate commerce, such as the office of the presidency, and committed at least two racketeering acts. One such act is extortion, which encompasses transmitting a threat to harm another’s reputation with intent to extract something of value. Trump’s conversations with Raffensperger, in which he suggested the secretary of state might have committed a crime and “that’s a big risk to you,” could fit that definition.
Equally fit charges for investigation include violating the federal voter fraud statute and coercing federal employees to violate the Hatch Act by working to advance his political candidacy. Trump’s well-documented efforts to pressure state officials not to certify Biden’s election could run afoul of the voter fraud law, which prohibits anyone from defrauding the residents of a state of a fair election by tabulating false ballots, although Trump might argue that he believed he had won in those states.
Likewise, Trump’s pressure on Rosen to “just say the election was corrupt” could run afoul of the Hatch Act’s criminal provision, which makes it “unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce” a federal employee to “engage in … any political activity.” It doesn’t get much more coercive or political than pressuring your attorney general to declare an election corrupt without proof.
Two other potential crimes that merit investigation are inciting insurrection and seditious conspiracy. Both statutes appear to fit the facts, but the DOJ might hesitate to bring charges because of possible defenses. For instance, even though language intended and likely to incite imminent violence meets the Supreme Court’s test for unprotected speech, a court might conclude that Trump’s exhortations to the crowd do not rise to that level of incitement and are protected by the First Amendment.
The bottom line is this: Now that Trump is out of office, the DOJ’s view that sitting presidents cannot be indicted no longer shields him. Attempted coups cannot be ignored. If Garland’s Justice Department is going to restore respect for the rule of law, no one, not even a former president, can be above it. And the fear of appearing partisan cannot be allowed to supersede that fundamental precept.
Laurence H. Tribe is Carl M. Loeb University Professor emeritus and a professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard Law School. Barbara McQuade is a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Joyce White Vance, the former U.S. attorney in Alabama, is a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law.
After Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, by a healthy 10% margin in the popular vote (81,000,000 to 74,000,000) and the identical, “historic” Electoral College “mandate” that Trump got vanquishing Crooked Hillary in 2016, the Orange Polyp went to work. According to his playbook, announced before the election, he never committed to the peaceful transition of power, if he lost. His loss, he said, could only result from massive communist/BLM/antifa/pedophile cannibal fraud. He still claims to have won by a “landslide”, an alternative fact most Republicans apparently take as true.
The former president was often dismissed as unhinged, delusional, crazy, and a compulsive liar. Of course, the faithless said the same about Adolf Hitler. Both men had the talent and charisma to convince millions of their unhinged delusions. What is keeping America from greatness? Mexican rapists, in caravans, bringing drugs — and China, Jina! Wait, also Muslim terrorists who hate our freedom. Also, sexed up women getting abortions whenever they want. Also, black people who are angry for no fucking reason even though America kisses their asses every day out of liberal guilt for something nobody ever even did to them. Poor people and cripples, bitter about being losers, who expect the government to give them money for nothing. Etc. With Hitler, it all boiled down to the Jews – get rid of the poisonous Jews and Aryans live happily ever after. With the elites who find Trumpism useful, all of the above, but also, mostly the Jews, and those who think, for whatever crazy reason, that it’s not the fucking Jews.Or, to put it more bluntly, whoever we can pin our own crimes on.
As a Jew whose large family was almost completely exterminated in the Nazi era, I am prone to see Nazis among supremely ambitious people who are merely extremely prejudiced and unprincipled. Is Lyin’ Ted really a Nazi? Give the boy a chance, I say, and he’ll do whatever needs to be done for his party. Mitch McConnell? The impartial juror who announced he was working closely with Trump’s defense team to quickly end the farce of a trial in the Senate where no witnesses or testimony would be allowed, the guy who rammed religious extremist Coney Barrett on to the Supreme Court days before the election? Please. Jim Jordan? He speaks to the president “all the time, yes, I spoke to him on January 6, sure I did, but, you, heh… now that you ask when I talked to him on the 6th… heh… ahumenuh humena humena…”. Alabama representativeMo Brooks, in his bullet proof vest, exhorting an armed crowd to go to the Capitol and fight for America, after organizing three White House strategy meetings for his fellow Congressional presidential election challengers prior to January 6 to plan for the big day? I shouldn’t call Brooks a Nazi, he might merely be a high-spirited klansman, for all I know.
While all this seditioning was going on (and it is still going on big time as AG Merrick Garland methodically works to prove the DOJ is now non-political again) we now know, with proof from newly released DOJ memos and other documents, that Trump made a continuous effort to use the DOJ to overturn the 2020 presidential election in states Trump lost (Congressional races won by the GOP in the same elections would not be challenged, no fraud there). Bill Barr, a conservative Christian culture warrior who served as historically shameless, bellicose gunsel for Trump, announced, after blusteringly promoting massive voter fraud allegations for months, that there had been no fraud on a scale that would have changed the election results anywhere. Then, with a final wet kiss to his former master, Barr resigned to spend Christmas with his family (and presumably to avoid future prosecution for seditious conspiracy to commit the insurrection that was being planned).
The lackeys at the top of the DOJ resisted Trump when he asked them to merely announce the election had been corrupt, in spite of the fact, established by the DOJ’s own investigations, that it had not been, and let him and Brooksie, and Jordan, and a few other hearty fanatics, “take care of the rest”. Then, in his moment of need, Trump found his loyal American Eichmann, Jeffrey Clark, right there at DOJ. Like Eichmann, Clark was ready, willing and able, to promote any lie that might be useful to his Leader.
Clark drafted a letter for the acting-AG to sign, informing Georgia officials that they had a legal responsibility to obey the will of the Republican state legislature, not the courts, not the election boards, not the fatuous arguments of cynical liberal constitutional law liars who clearly were involved in the corruption that stole the election from the rightful winner. This letter is part of the public record now, and Barr’s successor, to his credit, refused to sign it (to his discredit, he kept his mouth shut about, and gutlessly tap-danced around, the whole ugly insurrectionish episode).
There was a standoff, a la Trump’s old reality TV show The Apprentice, Clark, his audition letter in hand, arguing to be made AG so he could sign it, with the rest of DOJ leadership threatening to resign. Trump decided not to risk the resignation of DOJ leader and called Georgia instead, finally getting through, on his 18th try, on January 3, to ask the fellas there to give him a break and find the stinkin’ 11,780 votes he needed, and then proceeded with his desperate last stand, the January 6 MAGA riot to “stop the steal”.
Eichmann, the man who kept the trains rolling to the death camps, packed to capacity, was a man of modest intellectual gifts, an incomplete high school education and a talent for bureaucracy. Clark, an accomplished attorney, graduated from college and law school, had a distinguished legal career at one of the world’s top corporate law firms, fighting for ultra-conservative causes and making enough money and powerful right wing contacts that he is set for life (he’s now Chief of Litigation & Director of Strategy at New Civil Liberties Alliance, a self-described young and vibrant organization focused on restoring the historically more robust civil liberties long enjoyed by federal and state citizens—liberties that have come under fire with the rise of the modern “administrative state.”)He’s fighting for “civil liberties” like the right not to be forced to wear a fucking mask by an overreaching government. American Nazis always find well-paying jobs with like-minded, right wing billionaire-funded outfits fighting for their version of liberty and justice.
Hannah Arendt painted an unforgettable and insightful portrait of this kind of ambitious, mindless, true believing public servant in her masterpiece Eichmann in Jerusalem. He is supremely ambitious, does what he’s told, never questions his superiors, proceeds with absolute faith and unwavering belief in the rightness of his cause, knows the millions he loads on to trains are going to death camps, steels himself and does his duty no matter what.
Not to torture this comparison beyond the plain fact that both men, Eichmann and Clark, were ready, willing and able to do whatever was needed to advance their beliefs and their careers — and serve their masters. Of Eichmann, Arendt noted the lack of what we usual call “evil” in his CV and pointed out how he reflected a chillingly modern concept of evil, flowing directly and inexorably from a hateful belief system implemented on a mass level by an unblinking loyalist bureaucracy. From the intro:
As for what most of us call “conscience,” the Nazis, like the current GOP, had that shit covered. For Nazis conscience was, as Hitler himself had said, a debilitating “Jewish invention.” Conscience, they believed, made people weak and vulnerable and must be rooted out of the Nazi soul, like any vestige of human empathy that did not serve the Leader’s vision. For the current GOP? I don’t know, you tell me.
Clark’s anti-democratic treachery was already known and reported on back in January. Insurrection moves fast, democratic adjustment to insurrection moves with deliberate, lawful slowness.
The NY Times (January 24, 2021):
Justice Department colleagues said they were shocked by Mr. Clark’s embrace of the president’s falsehoods and plan to oust the acting attorney general in an effort to overturn Georgia’s election results.
Jeff Clark is the newly established Chief of Litigation and Director of Strategy for the nonpartisan New Civil Liberties Alliance. NCLA is a young and vibrant organization focused on restoring the historically more robust civil liberties long enjoyed by federal and state citizens—liberties that have come under fire with the rise of the modern “administrative state.”
Before joining NCLA, Mr. Clark was dual-hatted as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division at the U.S. Justice Department from 2020-2021, as well as the Senate-confirmed 35th Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) from 2018-2021. ENRD is a component of the Justice Department with an illustrious, more-than-a-century’s worth of history. He has personally appeared in every federal Court of Appeals. . .
. . . During his two periods of service inside the federal government, Mr. Clark focused on howto implement Federalist 51’s vision of “oblig[ing the government] to control itself.” Now at NCLA, he will focus on enforcing, from the outside, the constraints of the Constitution and the laws on the government.
Interspersed with his government service, Mr. Clark was a partner at the international law firm of Kirkland and Ellis LLP, where he practiced general appellate litigation, environmental law, and administrative law. Moreover, Mr. Clark has also worked in numerous substantive areas of law, ranging from labor law, to class actions, to intellectual property, to bankruptcy, and to products liability.
As for the Orange Polyp, things are finally closing in on him. There is now proof of three meetings he attended with a dozen Congressional lackeys to plan the spontaneous (ad budget to promote the lie that he won was a modest $50,000,000) January 6 “protest” that degenerate, Negro commies made to look so bad by dressing as a violent white MAGA mob and putting dozens of cops in the hospital, with help from the FBI, a dead Venezuelan socialist and other nefarious traitors, freedom haters and never-Trumpers. I really don’t see how he and his insurrectionist buddies get out of this one.
The impeachments were a joke, because, although strong cases were presented each time, his loyalists are so shameless and so terrified of his sadistic wrath they’d acquit him (after a trial with no witnesses, where the foreman of the impartial jury announced he was working closely with the defense) of publicly raping and eating a five year-old, but courts are a different matter. Even the zealot judges he appointed from the list given to him by the extreme right wing legal fraternity (The Federalist Society the Koch-funded Nazis call themselves) ruled against him in hundreds of cases — a couple even ripping him new assholes. Evidence or lack of it still rules in court and there are very few cases in which a judge can safely rule against the evidence (and those are mainly on the unappealable Supreme Court where the majority wins no matter how asinine their opinion). The numerous cases against Trump do not favor him.
Not to say he won’t bring a lot more pain on a lot more people before he’s done– and if they don’t prosecute him soon it may well be too late for all of us, AMERCA WHILL B GREAT AGIN, but it really looks like the tide is finally starting to turn against the enraged giant baby. The shit in his diaper doesn’t smell quite as sweet to many who used to pretend to love sniffing it, to coin a disgusting phrase.
An unaccountable crime scheme never ends until the perpetrators are charged, arrested, prosecuted and convicted. The former president, an insane giant baby, angrily rants and his party stalwarts cower, doing whatever he says, no matter how insane or babyish (though, in recent days, more cracks in this united facade are showing). For the most part, publicly, it’s Whatever you want, Mr. Insane Giant Baby, sir!
“Sir, they say, they always call me ‘sir’, which is funny if you think about it…” notes the Insane Giant Baby with that winning fake smile.
You had virtually every leader of Trump’s constantly changing 2016 campaign team (with the exceptions of Jared and Kellyanne) arrested and/or briefly locked up for various crimes, including working directly with Russian intelligence officers and fleecing Trump supporters of millions of dollars (with a fake Build the Wall website), several convicted of perjury and other crimes, most pardoned by the man they loyally worked for. The same goes for at least five members of the former president’s cabinet, referred for criminal investigation, none charged by the Trump DOJ. This is not normal, as they used to say.
You had four years and counting of seamless obstruction of justice by the sitting president using the DOJ as his personal legal cover-up team. Inauguration Committee chairman Tom Barrack was investigated for serious crimes (similar to those committed by QAnon advocate and martial law/MyPillow enthusiast Mike Flynn) by the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions and/or Barr and never charged with anything. Using the same evidence reviewed by Trump’s personal DOJ, Barrack has been indicted and is facing many years in prison if his criminal case goes to trial. The tax returns Trump fought so doggedly to hide, that the DOJ now says Trump’s DOJ and Steven Mnuchin illegally refused to turn over to Congress? Nothing to see! Personal! Nobody’s business, NANCY PELOSI, ASHLEY BABBIT, POWERFUL PEDOPHILE CANNIBALS, LIARS, ENEMIES, COMMUNISTS, DR. SUESS, MR. POTATOHEAD!!!!
The other day, apparently because Trump, frenetically trying to fix the “fake” election results, did not get around to classifying all DOJ notes and memos in the waning days of his presidency, when he was super busy trying to stay in power by any means necessary, some incriminating notes of a conversation he had with the corrupt Bill Barr’s successor as interim-acting AG (after even Barr had to bail) are now public. These contemporaneous notes show Trump had actual knowledge that he was lying about the election he lost, as he and his most ardent followers continue to brazenly do. Trump knew the truth, he just wanted the DOJ’s help to sell the lie.
This proof that he had knowledge that he was lying about the election shows his clear criminal intent for the many illegal actions he took, an intent his followers, especially Barr, kept obfuscating while they were all busily obstructing justice. At minimum they show Trump’s corrupt intent in, most recently, promoting his Big Lie, including $50,000,000 spent on ads (how is this not a big thing?) and countless calls (at least one recorded and heard by the public) and meetings during his unhinged “charm offensive” trying to pressure state Republicans to overrule their states’ voters.
Barr had already informed Trump, in a heated private exchange, that Trump’s continued claims of election fraud, and a rigged, stolen election were “bullshit.” Though Barr provided one last enthusiastic reach-around in his letter of resignation (“you are the greatest of all-time, sir, and the most passionately loved and admired compulsive liar in American, yea, world history. Your member is enormous and millions worship you”) he went on the record then and now as saying the election had not, in fact, been stolen. There had been no fraud, he concluded, on behalf of the DOJ, on a level that would have changed any election result. Too little and way too late, after all of Barr’s truly herculean efforts to shield Trump from accountability for anything, but even he left the sinking Trump administration before he could be directly tied to the attempted violent coup his boss was openly planning.
The “incriminating” notes, taken by the acting assistant deputy to then brand new interim-acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, show Rosen again informing Trump that there was no evidence of a rigged, corrupt or stolen election. The conversation took place on December 27, shortly after Barr left and ten days before the January 6 MAGA riot. Rosen corrected Trump’s false and mistaken claims. When Trump claimed there was a 68% miscounted vote/fraud rate in Michigan, Rosen corrected his number, it was actually a 0.0063% miscount rate, Sir, less than one hundredth of a percent. A small math error, fortuitously in his own favor, Trump’s rate was more than 10,000 times more than the actual rate. Anybody can get confused by decimals.
Trump remained undeterred with his political appointees, continued to try bending them to his will. The note quotes Trump’s response to being told by Rosen that the DOJ cannot just “snap its fingers and overturn the election results”. The Insane Giant Baby said he understood that, all he wanted was for the DOJ to do him a favor, though:
“just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. congressmen”
“These notes reveal that a sitting president, defeated in a free and fair election, personally and repeatedly pressured Justice Department leaders to help him foment a coup in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power,” Laufman [a former DOJ official] said. “And that should shock the conscience of every American, regardless of political persuasion.”
At this point, the war-weary American conscience is pretty darned hard to shock and there are always appeals and legal delays that can be employed by Trump and his myrmidons until there is a GOP majority in Congress again. Biden appears to believe (and is betting American democracy on that belief) that keeping Americans safe from the pandemic, giving them security, help with poverty, providing millions of jobs, repairing our crumbling infrastructure and starting the hard work of slowing catastrophic climate change will convince committed anti-fact fanatics to no longer support the Insane Giant Criminal Baby they faithfully adore. The moderate American president seems to actually believe that the results of his popular programs will speak for themselves, without a real need to overturn dozens of GOP voter suppression laws in many closely fought “battleground” states, laws that leave the final counting and certification of votes in the unchallengeable hands of GOP partisans. In less than a hundred days, after all, Biden’s legal experts will issue their report about the constitutionality of increasing the number of federal judges (no controversy, Congress can actually do it any time, absent the filibuster), including unpacking the 6-3 Federalist Society Supreme Court. What’s the rush? Americans aren’t that stupid… surely they’ll understand the radical Democrat commies improved their lives…
As for the seriousness of the new revelations about our criminally-inclined former Teflon Don and whether they will prompt any federal action?
I can hear the demented argument of former civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz, opining that, perhaps, had this been known at the time, while Trump was in office (where he could not have been legally prosecuted, even for murder, according to a generous reading of a famous memo) the notes might have, arguably, been a convincing part of a larger argument that the president had knowingly abused his power to spread a self-promoting lie and facilitate illegal efforts to make it the “truth”, although, as Trump’s first impeachment and second impeachment demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt, abuse of power, by itself, is neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor if the powerful abuser is known to be supremely vindictive, petty and sadistic, and has at least 50 votes in the Senate.
Now, some will say that this new “note” by Jeffrey Rosen’s deputy is much ado about nothing. EVERYBODY knows Trump lies, thousands of times as president, many, many, many times since he lost the election he tenaciously claims, without any evidence, that he won. Everybody knows you either love Trump unconditionally or hate him without boundaries. Those who love him admire his unbeatable ability to say “fuck you” to anybody, at any time, with no consequences. Those who hate him consider him a deadly cancer on decency and democracy. Who’s to say who’s right?
The stodgy New York Times printed an editorial the other day, entitled, circumspectly enough “ Trump and His Allies Still Aren’t Telling the Truth about January 6th” (Trump and his Allies are still lying about January 6th might have seemed biased, right?) contrasting numerous counter-factual GOP talking points to the truth as established by actual evidence and the fact that it actually happened. It was an impressive collection of fact and often absurdist alternative fact, but, of course, it proves nothing to those millions who are convinced that had faithless Brad Raffensberger and other powerful RINOs, including Trump’s loyal but spineless VP, homophobic lapdog Mike Pence, had merely done the right thing, finding Trump ONE more vote than Biden in each of the several swing states Trump “lost”, we wouldn’t be having this annoying fucking discussion now, while vicious Satanist cannibal child-fuckers like “affable” Communist Tom Hanks are running free and gleefully unaccountable for monstrous crimes they continue to blissfully get away with (sorry, Tom, but, you know people are sayin’… ‘sir’ they say ‘Tom the actor is not a good guy’).
It’s been said many times lately, prominently by justice-obsessed former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, that the ongoing GOP authoritarian insurrection will not be halted until its leaders and organizers are charged, arrested, tried and convicted. Elected insurrectionists, who seem to have played key roles in the lead-up to Trump’s MAGA riot (and its follow-up), still loudly talking shit, must be held accountable and, if merited, forced off the political playing field, that much is clear.
The proof of Trump’s criminal intent is there, Trump’s actual intent in his many criminal undertakings since losing the presidency can be easily established by deposing Barr, Rosen and his deputy assistant. It is beyond question that Trump knew he was lying when he sought extra-legal help overturning a fair election, he refers to others he enlisted, Mo Brooks organized three pre-January 6 strategy meetings with at least ten other elected Republicans, and still they persist, “doubling down” on the Stolen Election Lie at every opportunity.
We must all hope (those of us who are not Trumpists) that the water in the pot that is slowly heating now under the Giant Insane Angry Baby and some closely related frogs will get hot enough, soon enough, to make some of his loyal, betrayed co-conspirators start making deals to get out of the bouillabaisse, soon.
Why not take a one-month vacation now, Congress, you’ve certainly earned it! Nothing of great importance that won’t wait a month or two, or six, or … whatever.