What Just Happened in Russia? — It feels like 1934, and the start of the Great Purge

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 26th 2023


Despite having had seven years to consolidate his power, Joseph Stalin (Joseph Vissarionovich) was feeling uneasy. Despite the propagandistic success of his “cult of personality” leadership (since emulated by Hitler, Mao, and Trump) and ongoing purges of party leadership in show trials for the previous five years, it was already becoming clear that his plans to collectivize the entire agricultural sector was becoming a major social and economic disaster. Millions had already died as a result of the Holodomor, or Great Famine, which struck principally in the bread basket of the USSR, the Ukraine. Millions more starved to death in Russia proper and in the Kazakh regions. Abroad, Hitler had taken power in Germany, openly proclaiming his intent to invade and subjugate “the Slavic regions” which included the USSR. At home, talk of revolution became more open, and in his personal life, Stalin’s wife committed suicide and his eldest son attempted the same. His oldest daughter had massive mental problems.

Stalin’s response was “the Great Purge” which by 1938 was called “the Great Terror.” Some 750,000 people were executed, and tens of millions thrown into the Gulags.

Incredibly, and American right wingers emulate this cult of personality leadership model, Stalin remained fantastically popular. Even the bloody and wasteful way in which he fought Hitler (somewhat akin to a pitcher wearing out the opposing baseball team by making them run around the bases all day) didn’t put a dent in that popularity, and one of the most striking passages in Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” is the fulsome and utterly unfeigned grief shown by people imprisoned by Stalin for decades for trival or non-existent offenses upon the news of Stalin’s death.

So why am I comparing 2023 Russia to 1934 USSR, Putin to Stalin? Both were feeling cornered by political, military, economic and personal pressures, most self-inflicted. Both had a triggering crisis that sent them off an operative and subjective precipice.

In 1934, Stalin obsessed over his exiled rival for Soviet power, Leon Trotsky. Exiled since 1922, Trotsky had shifted from nation to nation, and, by then in an unhappy relationship with France, was rumored to be considering a return to the Soviet Union. Stalin feared Trotsky’s influence and possible restoration to power, and that triggered the Great Purge. The biggest of the show trials, in 1936, resulted in executions of Soviet political powers for “Trotskyist–Zinovievist” activities. At that point, the Soviet bloodbath became a result of political calculation, rather than just incompetence and misplaced idealism.

Everyone knows that something very strange happened this past week. Following months of rumors of increasing strife between Vladimir Putin’s Red Army and Ministry of Defence, and Yevgeny Prigozhin’s powerful and vicious mercenaries, the Wagner Group. Prigozhin announced that the Red Army had killed “huge numbers” of mercenaries in what was portrayed as a deliberate attack. Wagner seized control of military facilities in the southern Russian cities of Rostov-on-Don and Voronezhand announced a march on Moscow, a threat the Kremlin took seriously enough to order the capital on lockdown. Then, less than 24 hours later, Prigozhin announced “We turning our columns around and going back in the other direction toward our field camps, in accordance with the plan.” Some kind of agreement permitted the mercenaries to abandon the march on Moscow, unmolested and unpunished for what Putin just hours earlier had called treason and “terrorist acts.” Prigozhin himself left in a cloud of adulation for Belarus, where the country’s brutal dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, has offered him sanctuary. Given that Putin is Lukashenko’s only ally, it’s not clear to anyone why he offered a negotiated out to Prigozhin, although if I were Prigozhin, I would avoid going up stairs in buildings that have windows, odd men with bowlers and umbrellas, and cuppa teas with dusty surfaces. I’m guessing that Lukashenko’s real offer of protection was made to Putin, not Prigozhin, and Putin wants Prigozhin dead or vanished. Prigozhin probably realized that by effectively declaring war on Russia, he bit off more than he could chew. He has since said he was just trying to protect his ‘troops’ and not overthrow Russia. Oh, dear me, no. Just a misunderstanding. Tut tut.

I don’t expect to see Prigozhin still alive by the end of this year. Similarly, Putin took a huge black eye politically, and he’ll either be out of office by then, or Russia will be embroiled in another Great Purge or possibly a revolution.

While nobody has much love for Putin, Prigozhin or Lukashenko, the situation is very worrisome, given that Russia still has more nukes than any other country, and nobody knows who will control those nukes or what they will do with them by year’s end.

For the Ukraine, all this is a golden opportunity to drive the Russians out of their eastern regions, and quite possibly Crimea itself. But remember that will only exacerbate the crisis in Russia and make things even more unstable.

And that’s why I think Putin in 2023 so resembles the position of Stalin in 1934.

This situation hasn’t ended. It may well just be beginning.

Trying Times — MAGAts are having the week from hell

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 20th 2023


Well, it’s not a very good day for MAGAts. First, Trump had an absolutely catastrophic interview with, of all people, Brett Baier at Fox News. The following morning, the date and location for his trial was announced: “This case is hereby set for a Criminal Jury Trial during the two-week period commencing August 14, 2023, or as soon thereafter as the case may be called. A Calendar Call will be held at 1:45 p.m. on August 8, 2023. All hearings will be held at Alto Lee Adams, Sr. United States Courthouse, 101 South U.S. Highway 1, Courtroom 4008, Fort Pierce, Florida 34950, with modifications to be made as necessary as this matter proceeds.”

Aileen (the Loose) Cannon will be presiding, and much as she may want to get Trump off the hook, it doesn’t seem likely that she could get away with anything other than a negotiated plea bargain (and even if Trump had enough sense to accept a deal, Jack Smith is unlikely to let him get away with a slap on the wrist.) Her other escape avenue would be to have Trump submit to a competency hearing. In the wake of the Baier interview, a case really could be made for that.

I can just picture MAGAts in their flags and star-spangled panties and such declaring, “He may be a drooling idiot, but by God, he’s OUR drooling idiot.” Voters with three digit IQs who don’t have six or more psychiatric markers might have second thoughts about him.

Then, just to rub a little salt in the wound, they announced a plea bargain in the case against Hunter Biden. According to the Guardian, “Biden, 53, was charged with illegally owning a firearm in 2018 after lying about his drug use when he purchased a gun. Biden was also charged with failing to file and pay taxes in 2017 and 2018, which are misdemeanor offenses. Documents from the Justice Department confirm that Biden will enter a pre-trial diversion agreement for the firearm offense.” Biden probably won’t serve any jail time, although the firearms agreement is likely to result in probation and he may lose the right to vote for a while. But the laptop and the missing 19 tapes and the “special whistleblower” nobody can find all just went away, leaving only the ineffectual nuts to howl their conspiracy theories into the void.

Since I started writing this about a half hour ago, Trump said: “Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!” Well, if the system didn’t have serious flaws, Trump would have been in prison many years ago, so there’s that.

James Comer called Biden’s charges a “slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery”. OK, bubbles. Prove it. Oh, you’ve spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars already, and have nothing to show for it? Aw, poor Jimmy. Bit a wooden leg and now his teeth hurt.

Mary Millar, howling nut from Illinois, wrote, “Hunter Biden is receiving a sweetheart deal from the DOJ that shields ‘THE BIG GUY’ Joe Biden from the Biden foreign bribery operation. The cash & diamonds he didn’t pay taxes on came from CHINA, RUSSIA & UKRAINE. No FARA foreign agent charges? TWO SYSTEMS OF JUSTICE!” All the scattershot all caps accusations really make for a convincing case. Yup. Shore do.

I note none of them want to mention that the DA who signed off on the plea deal, David Weiss, was a Trump appointee. Ironically, he wasn’t asked to step down when Joe Biden’s administration started because he was already handling the Hunter Biden case, and it was felt that asking him to resign under the circumstances would be seen as partisan.

So let the nuts scream. The Hunter Biden “case” is dead.

I suspect the saner Republican are all secretly feeling a sense of relief over all this. The Trump trial might loosen his grip on the party and they were facing the prospect of a candidate who 60% of all voters absolutely hated. Granted, the rest of their field is dominated by kooks and vicious Nazis, and they are probably just going to have to suffer a pasting come November, 2024, but they pretty much brought that upon themselves. Trump was already a liability before the Baier interview—now he’s flat-out radioactive.

Trump’s confused and crazy lies were bad enough—even worse than the CNN ‘town hall’ that nearly destroyed that channel. But I can’t imagine how he thought he could go on Faux and announce the 2020 election had been stolen. Baier had 787 million reasons to flatly contradict him, and he did.

And for the first time, Trump actually looked scared. I think he is finally realizing the wheels of justice are not going to let him walk away unscathed.

The trial is going to be complicated. I know a lot of people wanted the trial televised, but I don’t see how that’s possible. I want them to televise whatever they can of it, but there are legitimate complications.

The 37 counts all involve Trump’s mishandling and possible abuse of national security files—some listed as top secret, and even the ones listed as “confidential” have information that could put national interests and assets at risk. But it would be impossible to give Trump a fair trial (which he has an absolute right to) without letting the jury know the exact nature of those documents.

That means the jurors and court officials will all have to have at least temporary national security clearance to handle top secret information. They will probably have to sign an agreement that if they discuss ANY of that with anyone, they will end up in a cell next to Donald’s and probably be there after he dies.

They’ll also have to set up a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) in order to keep the contents of the evidence and testimony pertaining to such evidence secret. They have no choice: the jury MUST know the exact nature of the secrets.

But all the rest can and must be public. MAGAts will never read the transcripts because they have to stay safe in their psychotic little bubble, but fortunately, the large majority of Americans aren’t MAGAts, and they want and deserve to know exactly what is going on, and how a verdict was reached.

And don’t forget: there’s still the felony indictments for the New York tax scheme trial, and pending findings for January 6th and the efforts to overturn the Georgia election.

Trump really is going to be “too busy” for once, and his monkeys are going to wear themselves out screaming about it.

History Lessens — The fall of autocrats bring endless possibilities

History Lessens

The fall of autocrats bring endless possibilities

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 18th 2023


One of the problems with historical parallels is that they usually don’t hold up very well. For example, when Putin attacked and invaded the Ukraine, a lot of people, including myself, compared it to Hitler’s attack on Poland in 1939.

Well, as the old saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat; it just has recurring themes.” History DOES show that similar motives result in similar actions, but the results are rarely similar.

Suppose, that by 1941, Hitler found that he only held a fifth of Poland, and was at risk of losing that relatively small gain. Suppose, further, that the Wehrmacht had lost a quarter of their troops, most of their tanks, and had lost air superiority. Finally, it had obliterated Hitler’s plans to seize all of Europe as a first step toward global conquest.

Some people would be smugly comparing it to any number of failed invasions and occupations (and indeed, most such do fail) and assuring us that history repeats.

I look at how the Russians have been largely stymied in Ukraine and reflect that had western Europe and what later came to be known as the Allied Forces resisted Hitler in 1939 the way they have resisted Putin, World War II might have been averted, at least in Europe, and Hitler would be another failed demagogue who would be forced from office, his fate to be that of a more obscure historical question in British pub quizzes.

For Russians, there are echoes of the their own past, some 100 to 120 years ago. Russia then was reeling from a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Japanese, the economy was crap, autocrats were robbing the country blind, and widening splits were appearing in the social fabric and in the military. Even the Russian calendar, still using the old Julian tabulation, was out of step with the rest of the world by some ten days.

Then WW1 broke out, and while Russia acquitted herself well in helping to subdue the Germans, von Hindenberg was able to expel the Tsar’s Army from East Prussia, further disillusioning a Russian population that wasn’t too enthusiastic about fighting in a family squabble amongst the detested western European nations. Before that “family squabble” was even over, the Tsar was overthrown, and a few months later, a second revolution put the Bolsheviks in power.

Does a similar fate await Russia now? Remember: themes, not repetition. Even though many older Russians miss the “good old days” of the USSR, I don’t expect anything along the lines of a Bolshevik revolution. Conditions are ripe for a revolt of some sort, though, although the nature of the various factions would make such an event a grim prospect indeed for the Russian people, and possibly for the world at large.

The Wagner Group—the fascist private militia Putin imagined could give him plausible deniability for Russian excesses and atrocities outside his borders—seems to be turning on him and his military. The mercenaries are fed up with incompetence and ineffectualness of the Russian military, with cause, and Russian soldiers are disgusted with the mercenaries because they are mercenaries and behave the way mercenaries usually do. (George III used mercenaries in the American colonies, and I suspect that is one of the major reasons the colonies succeeded in breaking away).

Because Russian society is nearly as closed off as it was in the days of Stalin, it’s hard to get a good feel for the social and political currents swirling around the Kremlin, but Russia’s diminished standing in the world, the lackluster-to-poor economy, and the disappointment of Ukraine do not paint a rosy picture for Putin.

If the reports are to be believed, Putin himself is exhibiting the paranoia and self-imposed isolation of an autocrat under siege. That’s usually the most self-destructive trajectory someone like Putin can take, and is widely regarded as a death spiral. Think Hitler in his bunker.

Outside of Turkiye and Hungary, the rest of NATO have to be feeling pretty good. Having resisted the efforts of Trump/Putin to destroy the alliance, they now can point to the Ukraine and lay claim to having avoided a much bigger regional war in Europe. I mention those two countries in particular because they are both ruled by vicious autocrats not unlike Putin, and both are more sympathetic to the fascist leader of Russia than to their own people, let alone NATO.

This summer may prove decisive for Ukraine. If they can expel the Russian forces, they will be a solid member of NATO for many years to come, and it’s likely that Putin will fall. How far Russia falls is a more open question; when the USSR fell, everyone welcomed a new capitalist and democratic Russian Union. Only the capitalists expressed their love through what amounted to a gang-rape of Russia, leaving the country as it is today, a broken kleptocracy.

For the sake of the Russian people, I hope history doesn’t repeat. For the sake of us all, I hope for some of the better themes that might follow in the wake of all this.

37 Counts — Florida grand jury nails Trump to the wall

37 Counts

Florida grand jury nails Trump to the wall

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 12th 2023


The indictment is utterly damning. I know that pundits world wide have been saying that very thing thousands of times on the vast majority of news outlets around the world, but that’s only because it is so self-evidently true.

Yes, it’s 49 pages long, but it’s double-spaced and with a lot of images and lists, I would be surprised if it contains 8,000 words. Perhaps a dozen pages single-spaced and without images or annotations.

So perhaps a twenty-minute read. And the language is clear and straightforward, lacking either legalese or obfuscation. The laws cited are clear and direct, and the evidence that demonstrates violation of those laws is about as clear as it can possibly be.

Of course, Republicans are refuting it. The very worst of them are making veiled and sometimes not-so-veiled demands for violence and insurrection. Some of them, including a couple of Congressmen, might expect visits from the FBI in the not too distant future. Clay Higgins, in an act bordering on treason, tweeted, “President Trump said he has ‘been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM.’ This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this,” he wrote. “Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.” Andy Biggs tweeted, “We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye.” I doubt either of them will actually lead any kind of armed protest, but if they did, and got arrested by National Guardsmen or Police defending the courthouse, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

Gym Jordan made the amazing claim that Trump declassified the documents before he stole them, which Trump himself directly contradicts on tape. Some of the more-ordinary-but-still-bloody-stupid Republicans are whining about “witch hunts” and how Trump is being persecuted by a “weaponized DoJ.” Most of them aren’t smart enough to come up with their own talking points and get their pretense at knowledgeability from the likes of Tucker Carlson and OANN.

Mind you, these are the same Republicans who demanded the death penalty for Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Katherine Gun, Erin Brockovich, and Julian Assange. They screamed “Lock her up” because they believed Hillary Clinton had secret documents on a server and, with no evidence, that she leaked them. They want a full investigation of Joe Biden over documents, but curiously not for Mike Pence who, like Biden, had some classified materials in his possession, and like Biden, notified the Archives as soon as he realized he had them. Unlike Trump, who concealed them and lied about it.

We don’t know who Trump shared the documents with. We know he liked to boast about possessing them, and we know he had suspicious relationships with the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia, neither of whom are friends of the United States. We know that the boxes were in areas that weren’t even remotely secure, and we know that Mar-a-Lago was a favorite target for spies familiar with Trump’s fecklessness and corruption.

We also know some of the material in the wrong hands could do immense damage to the United States, and to intelligence and military personnel involved with any of the secret activities the documents detailed.

We also know that Trump will stop at nothing for money or power, and personally, I have no doubt he will gleefully sell us out and do damage to the country for material gain.

Trump’s arraignment is on Tuesday, and I plan on writing another piece after that occurs. While I won’t try to predict the actual court proceedings themselves, I will predict what will become of the crowd that are calling for demonstrations and resistance on Trump’s behalf.

Nothing much.

Oh, a few hundred might turn up, and they might be noisy and even bellicose, but they will be out-numbered, not just by police but by counter-demonstrators chanting “Lock him up.”

The Trump MAGA movement has been slowly deflating over the past year. All the predicted horrors of a Biden tyranny failed to come to pass, and indeed, the economy is in amazingly good shape. We aren’t at war, not even with the Republicans who want war against Americans. Gas stoves aren’t banned, and nor are ICE vehicles. They will be phased out, but that’s called “progress.” Horse and carts didn’t get banned, either, but you don’t see them on the freeways.

Further, Trump’s self-pitying screeches and bellows are getting boring beyond belief. Even his followers are getting bored. It doesn’t help that he turns ANY occasion into a chance to whine about his alleged victimhood. Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Easter, any time people stop to think about things that really matter to them, here’s Donald, whining, trying to make it all about himself. The schtick is as dead as Vaudeville.

And there’s a growing realization that the law really is catching up to him. He was found liable in that defamation case. He has 31 counts arrayed against him in New York State on tax fraud. He has pending indictments under consideration for January 6th and for vote tampering in Georgia.

And Faux News is fully discredited because of it’s lying on his behalf. They still do lie, of course, but they’re a lot more circumspect about it. Like Trump, they still face massive legal sanctions for their behavior surrounding the 2020 election. As for some of the other right-wing flacks and outlets that tried to raise a revolution against democracy and America.

Finally, there’s the fact that a lot of Donald’s remaining followers are certifiable. A lot will stay away because of a conspiracy theory that the feds are holding the arraignment as a trap, with Trump as the honey pot. They’ll round up Trump supporters, the theory goes, and do unspeakable things to them to make them disappear. Something lurid, no doubt, and painful. MAGAts, let your imaginations run wild!

But Tuesday should be, for the rest of us, gratifying, and perhaps a bit amusing. And above all, reassuring. If the law can’t apply here, it is worthless.

A Trifecta Kind of Day — Maybe good things come in threes

A Trifecta Kind of Day

Maybe good things come in threes

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 8th 2023


There were three news stories today that were a refreshing change from the unrelievedly grim news out of such diverse places as the Ukraine, the Canadian North, and Florida.

In ascending order of importance:

Pat Robertson is dead, age 93. This hateful televangelist has been a stain on American discourse for decades, and frankly, I’m glad he’s dead. He had his professed opinion on the nature of the afterlife, and I believe that when you die you simply wink out of existence and revert to the state of being you had for the 14 billion years before you were born. Ironically, he may be lucky if it turns out I was the one who was right.

The second most important story was the federal indictments that the justice department will unseal Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. This is the documents case, and there are reports that they include willful obstruction of justice and violations of the espionage act. The indictments will come from a Florida Grand Jury whose existence was a very well-kept secret until next week. This means the trial will be in Florida, negating Trump’s planned howls that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Washington or New York. The back up plan of course was to pretend the indictments were political and partisan. A Faux News “journalist” wanted to know if there was a REASON this was all happening “in the middle of a presidential election campaign.” I’m told that the respondee was unable to keep a straight face. Propaganda has to have at least a kernel of plausibility among the True Believers, and that one won’t even reach that low bar. To me, it reveals the vacuous desperation of the Republican party. I think Trump will be pretty much reduced to arguing he was innocent of breaking law because he was accused of abusing powers he didn’t actually have.

The most important story was the Supreme Court ruling on Allen v Milligan. By a 5-4 majority, the court ruled that the redistricting in Alabama was a clear violation of section two of the Voting Rights Act and was discriminatory based on race.

That the redistricting was discriminatory was pretty much indisputable on the face of it, and instead, what Alabama was asking the SC to do was simply junk the law the action violated. This was a step too far for John Roberts, who wrote, “The heart of these cases is not about the law as it exists. It is about Alabama’s attempt to remake our §2 jurisprudence anew. We find Alabama’s new approach to §2 compelling neither in theory nor in practice. We accordingly decline to recast our §2 case law as Alabama requests.” Brett Kavanaugh joined Roberts in crossing over to the Dark Side (“We have cookies!”).

Nobody thinks for an instant that these two puppets of the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues have had a change of heart and want to uphold Civil Rights in the US. They may have simply realized that the legitimacy of the Court, already in tatters, could collapse entirely with a second incendiary and highly unpopular ruling in the same year. At least they could hide behind stare decisis and explain to those holding their leashes that they had to pretend to uphold case law, at least for now. I don’t trust their motives, whatever they are. But they flat-out declared the redistricting done by the bigots of Alabama to be unconstitutional.

But the results in the short term are monumental. Alabama will have to redraw their districts well before the next election, and further, similar cases in Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia are now effectively decided. That means that four states with 73 electoral votes will have to hurriedly redistrict, and the resulting shifts should create about 20 black-majority districts that didn’t previously exist. While it may not affect the presidential race (all four states have a winner-takes-all for the president candidate with the most votes statewide) it will affect congressional races—up to 20 seats may change. Had these redistricting had been struck down in 2021, the Democrats would currently enjoy at least a 5 seat majority in the House.

And for now, at least, Section Two of the Voting Rights Act remains the law of the land. It’s an encouraging development at at time when the Supreme Court is normally in the vanguard of a fascist coup against the country.

Robertson dead. Trump indicted (some more, this time federal). The VRA still alive.

Yup. Good things come in threes.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier…–Trump Audio recording eliminates any defense he had

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 31st, 2023


The denouement of Trump’s defense in the documents scandal came from a New Yorker story by Susan Glasser that, by itself, was utterly horrifying. The story details how Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley opposed Trump, both openly and behind the scenes, to stymie Trump’s impulse to launch a full-scale military invasion of Iran.

Milley presumably realized that this would be the greatest military blunder in American history. Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea would all pale next to it. Those were all small, comparatively weak nations and time after time the US sank into a quagmire they eventually lost. Iran is neither small nor weak, and an attack there would almost certainly draw in the Russians. It probably would be the start of World War III. Milley went so far, according to the story, to surreptitiously tell the military to ignore any “illegal orders” that might come from the President.

The story utterly infuriated Trump (OK, for once I can at least understand why he would be pissed). But his endless need to self-justify and his thin skin led him to what perhaps was the most damning error he has made, post-presidency.

Per CNN, “President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, multiple sources told CNN, undercutting his argument that he declassified everything.”

The story goes that two writers for Mark Meadows “autobiography” met with Trump at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. That autobiography contains an account where Trump “recalls a four-page report typed up by (Trump’s former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) Mark Milley himself. It contained the general’s own plan to attack Iran, deploying massive numbers of troops, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency.” It’s anyone’s guess if Milley was contradicting himself, or this is just one of the obligatory scenarios the military delight in creating (“What happens if Lower Slobbovia invades Delaware? Or vice-versa?”) but Trump seized on it as proof Milley was lying.

Trump rattled some papers at the interviewers, and said that these were classified documents that showed the truth of the Meadows claims, and he would like to show them to the interviewers, but the documents were classified, so he couldn’t.

How do we know this?

Oh, lord, there are tapes, part XI. The interviewees, with Trump’s knowledge and consent, were recording the meeting. Trump either forgot, or was so irate he simply lost his temper, or both.

And Jack Smith has that tape. Lawdy, lawdy.

I can envision dozens of felony counts awaiting Trump just on the documents case. But for the first time, I think the DoJ has a prima facie case to persecute Trump for espionage. Combined with the probable indictments for the January 6th case (insurrection) and the Georgia vote count (election tampering) Trump’s most likely future will include dying in prison. This one tape demonstrates that Trump was lying about declassifying the documents, or that he COULD declassify them, or that he didn’t know he had them, or that he ever misused them in any way. This tape is more damning than all the Nixon tapes combined, including the infamous missing “14 ½ minutes.”

It came at the same time that Trump revealed just how far his contempt for the Constitution went by vowing to rescind the 14th amendment through executive order. Even Slappy Thomas would have trouble justifying that one. Trump is irked that the constitution specifies that anyone born in the territories of the US are American citizens, including babies who don’t speak English. (That would be most of them, I would hazard.)

He also threw his weight behind preventing the impeachment of Ken Paxton in Texas who was, of course, promptly impeached. It shows how weak his grasp on the party has become, even as the marching morons continue to chant his praises.

Trump legally, is a dead man walking. He won’t be a candidate in 2024 because he will be in prison. He may still claim to be a candidate, but his campaign will be as quixotically ridiculous as the one run by Lyndon LaRouche back about 30 years ago. The Republicans who, under Trump, let the lunatic fringe take over their party are in such disarray that they will have severe trouble coming up with any candidate at all. They may no longer even be a single discrete party at that point.

The voting on the debt ceiling limit is taking place as I write this, and its passage is extremely likely. For a small number of concessions, Biden got the Republicans to throw away the only real weapon they still possessed, eliminating the debt ceiling until after the 2024 election. Yes, Biden is smarter than the GOP—combined. I was of the strong opinion that Biden shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, but the implications of this agreement please even me. Biden lost a couple of minor skirmishes, but won the war. The same Republicans who had been howling that Biden was so senile and/or incompetent he couldn’t find his trousers just learned they lost their own pants in a poker match against him.

I’m starting to feel hope that America is going to survive Trump, and MAGA, and Qanon.

In any event, the next few weeks should be entertaining as all hell.


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