The Wave Breaks — But the sand persists

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 20th, 2022

In a way, the election last week didn’t change a whole lot. The Democrats held the Senate and maybe will add a seat in two weeks, and while they lost the House, the number of seats lost by the party holding the White House was the second-least in over 70 years.

Very little changed, and yet it feels like everything has changed.

About 90% of political power is illusory, and that was the case with the out-of-office Donald Trump. Not only did he fail to avail himself of the standard political winds to get his party a large majority in both Houses, but he was actually a drag on the ticket, with many of his hand-picked candidates losing in races they ought to have handily won, and a lot of Qanon “the election was stolen” nuts getting rejected en masse.

And most of Trump’s political power collapsed like a soap bubble. Suddenly the Voice of Donald, which thundered in GOP ranks, provoking shivers and submissive urination, became a shrill whine which Republicans felt free to swat at in irritation, like a mosquito. Suddenly, Trump found himself being rejected and even dismissed by his former sycophants, and even publicly challenged.

The Congressional Republicans decided to pretend that the narrow three-or-four seat majority they had in the House amounted to a mighty 1932-style mandate, and immediately chorused that they would start fresh rounds of the indeterminable hearings that were usually investigations in search of a crime, the same tiresome nonsense they’ve inflicted on the country since Newt Gingrich started pointless but politically damaging congressional investigations of the Clintons. They were already losing what little potency they possessed before January 6th, 2021. The eight different Benghazi investigations, including 11 hours of testimony from Hillary Clinton hurt her so badly that she only got three million more votes than Donald.

But the January 6th Committee hearing showed the nation what honest, conscientious Congressional hearings were like. There was no shouting down of witnesses (despite the fact that most of the witnesses were Republicans and members of the Trump team), actual evidence was presented with strong documentation, video and written records. There was no grandstanding, no shouted promises to convict as soon as something came up that could result in actual charges. It showed the prior “investigations” to be the silly, pointless, futile clown shows that in the end, were all the GOP had to offer. Even the one investigation over the past almost 30 years that actually found wrong doing and resulted in charges was so petty, mean, and rankly hypocritical that the impeachment of Bill Clinton for getting a blow job actually resulted in an increase in his popularity. People might have honestly disapproved of Bill’s behavior, but they didn’t need the likes of Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde lecturing them on what proper moral behavior might be.

So now we have the likes of Gym Jordan, Margie “Armpits” Taylor-Greene and Bobo Boebert to tell us that investigations of criminals by the Department of Justice and the FBI are bad, bad, bad. If Republican criminals aren’t safe, then by gawd, no criminal is safe!

They’re even talking about resurrecting Benghazi. After nearly two years of trying to defend, or at least excuse or even deny the events of January 6th, they want to tell us all that an armed mob attacking a US government facility resulting in the deaths of Americans is bad, and someone needs to pay. Think about that. Just brimming with moral authority there, aren’t we?

They want to impeach Joe Biden because Hunter something. Hunter is a sleaze and probably will end up getting tried at some point for some sort of malfeasance (high crimes that in Trump world are known as “Wednesday”) but the investigations will turn themselves inside out trying to show, with no evidence, that Joe orchestrated it all. They want to impeach Merrick Garland because he’s investigating Trump. They want to impeach Jack Smith for being named Special Counsel, apparently unaware of the fact that they cannot impeach a Special Counsel.

Having already lost the moderates and independents they hoped to corral in the election, they now face a slow, steady withdrawal of those supporting them – the so-called “mainstream Republicans” – the corporate types, the actual conservatives, and Republicans who don’t fancy clown shows, fascism, hate mongering or theocracies. There was a glaring example of that withdrawal from the bat-shit wing of the party by Murdoch’s New York Post, which noted Trump’s ill-advised declaration of candidacy for 2024 by putting on the bottom of their front page, “Florida Man makes announcement. Page 27”. Leading Republicans, including fascist slimes Ted Cruz and DeSantis, openly challenged the Trump announcement. Both have been fervent belly-crawlers for Trump, and if those two whipped dogs could work up the courage to disobey Trump then truly his star has dimmed.

Given the unbridled glee and enthusiasm of the bat-shit contingent, and the pulling back of the saner elements in the GOP, a civil war in the party, particularly in the House, seems likely. Pass the popcorn. I’m actually hoping the zanies will prevail, not just for their ability to do damage to themselves and their party, but because it may lead to some Republican congressionals leaving the party, becoming independents, putting control of the House back in Democratic hands. The Dems not only need to consider who the minority leader will be to replace Nancy Pelosi, but potentially who the Speaker will be.

We’re seeing a sea change. Americans got to see what Trump, Qanon and the various other extreme right factions had to offer—the hatred, the racism, the cruelty and the vicious imposition of religion—and don’t want it. This election, for all that it changed little, moved mountains.

Quid Nunc? – Trump has been impeached. Now what?

Quid Nunc?

Trump has been impeached. Now what?

December 19th 2019

Seeing Trump get impeached was enormously satisfying, wasn’t it? He is the most corrupt, dishonest, and vicious president in American history, and it’s time he got a little recognition for that. He was already upset that they gave the Time Cover of the year to a little girl he could beat up with one bone spur tied behind his back, even though with Kissinger, Stalin and Hitler former personages so awarded, Trump more than qualified.

Trump did celebrate, going to one of his little Nuremberg rallies and proclaiming that John Dingell, the late representative from Michigan, was watching all this from hell. Why? Because Dingell’s widow, Debbie, who filled his seat in the House, voted for impeachment. I imagine that went over well in Michigan, where he just made a really cheap attack on their most popular representatives.

Being a tacky and mean piece of shit isn’t, in itself, an impeachable offense. But it does make it harder to scrape up any sympathy for him. Many pundits have noted that in the many hours of debate the House and its committees staged over the past four weeks, not one Republican stood to defend Trump’s personal honor. They may be cowards, they may be cultists, they may be endlessly servile, but none of them had enough imagination to come up with that particular argument. Even the old line about Hitler (“At least he liked dogs”) doesn’t pertain; Trump doesn’t like dogs.

Trump forecast violence in the streets if he was impeached, and he was right, if you define doing the Macarena as being violent. He’s impeached, and nobody with an IQ above 90 or a bank balance below one million is upset about that.

Now it’s supposed to be going to the Senate, the the jury foreman, Mitch “Moscow” McConnell is also going to be the leading defense attorney. He’s already said, among other things, that witnesses would not be allowed to testify: Democratic witness because they would be damaging to his client, and administration witnesses because they would be damaging to his client. (No, not really: Trump simply doesn’t want anyone from the administration testifying. It’s right there in Article 2 of the impeachment.) McConnell vows to make a farce of the proceedings, because fuck America.

So there’s a very outside chance Pelosi won’t even send the Articles to the Senate. The result would be the same, except Trump wants exculpation and revenge, and this would eliminate any possibility of that. The impeachment would just be there, a deep shadow over his “perfect” presidency. It would drive him nuts.

Of course it would backfire, as the Republicans would just claim that the real reason the Dems didn’t send it to the Senate is because the case is so weak. Under new Republican rules of self incrimination, you cannot be convicted of a crime unless you specifically say that you committed that crime. For instance, if you come running out of a bank firing a gun behind you and carrying a sack full of money from said bank, you can’t be convicted unless you say, “I robbed a bank.” And if you’re the president, the police can’t even arrest you. The Republicans have come a long way from their campaign to eliminate reading Miranda rights.

So it will go to the Senate, and I’m hoping that demonstrators by the hundreds of thousands will go with it. Republicans need to know that if they try to protect their Putin puppet, the American public will revolt—not against the government, but against the Republican Party. A very important distinction, that: most Americans like their country. But they hate what the GOP is doing to that country.

In any case, the Republicans need to know that trying to whitewash or circumvent a Senate trial will carry a fatal political cost. And yes, just nominating Trump in the first place should have done that, but we live in an era where custard heads consider propaganda more important than journalism because it’s more interesting.

In the meantime, the House must continue its investigations into the various and multitudinous crimes the Trump cartel has committed. There are going to be more convictions and more sentencing of various Trump henchmen, including Guiliani, and cases for impeachment can be brought to bear against Barr, DeVoss, and Pompeo. Mike Pence is likely to face impeachment over his role in the Ukraine thing. And of course, there are quite literally hundreds of other charges that can be made against Trump, including several dozen just from the Mueller report.

As satisfying as yesterday’s votes were, the fight has just started. Trump must be legally harried and pursued until he he either quits or is driven from office. And the GOP must pay a horrible price for their efforts to circumvent justice and for their role in degrading America.

It’s only just begun. Democrats, don’t think you can stop here.

A Lonely Man – Kafka Kouncils grill Mueller

July 24th 2019

Today’s hearings had plenty of surreal moments. The one that stuck in my head was that of Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, who demanded to know as a former Prosecutor why Mueller spoke of exonerating Trump.

He was badgering Mueller, demanding to know where, in the remit of the Special Prosecutor, the Justice Department, the FBI or anywhere, existed the power to exonerate.

It could be argued that by saying he didn’t do something, Mueller was implying that he could do it. If Mueller had looked at the panel, and with a condescending smirk and an arched eyebrow, said, “I do not exonerate Donald Trump” then Turner might have a point. Then it would sound like Mueller could exonerate but just didn’t feel like it at that particular moment. But that’s not what happened.

Mueller merely stated in the report that it does not exonerate Trump. Mueller wasn’t claiming a nonexistent power to exonerate.

The report concluded, “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

If Mueller had instead written, “The evidence doesn’t make the President a good guy,” would Ratcliffe (and several other Republican reps chanting the same song) be screaming that Mueller cannot claim that he can make the President a good guy when in fact Mueller is saying the report doesn’t make him look like a good guy?

This all sounds silly as hell, and it is, but it also grazes a salient point that is, in point of both fact and law, the heart of the reason the report, while it contains many smoking guns, wasn’t THE smoking gun.

The Department of Justice has a lunatic rule that a sitting President cannot be indicted for crimes committed while sitting as President. A sitting President can be sued for civil matters (Jones vs Clinton) but when it comes to criminal matters, he enjoys a weird, extra-constitutional diplomatic immunity from his own country.

If I had to guess, it was Republicans who pushed for this rule, because while they love to investigate Democrats for (usually imaginary) crimes it is Republican Presidents who tend to be the actual criminals and end up in for-reals legal trouble. So Republicans scrapped legal harassment of Democratic presidents in order to keep their own out of prison, and settled for endless congressional investigations—none of which needed any actual evidence of criminal behavior in order to proceed, an added bonus. Remember Benghazi? Eight congressional investigations, blowing well over $75 million, and even with corrupt Republicans running the show, couldn’t find evidence of any wrong doing, or even that a crime had occurred.

So from the get-go, Mueller know he could not indict Trump. Lacking the main element for his report, he had to feather the edges. With no power to indict, or even accuse, because Presidents are god-kings well above your stupid puny American laws, he instead listed the crimes (eleven dealing with obstruction of justice alone) and waited for a corrupt and cowardly Congress to do its job.

He must have felt quite lonely doing that.

Did he manage to drop the hint? Over a thousand federal prosecutors signed a letter stating that if they were presented with the evidence Mueller had in his report, and if it were anyone other than the godlike and invulnerable Lord of all the Americas, they would have handed down multiple felony indictments.

Of course, prosecutors have a job to do and understand how to do it. Congress merely needs to look like it’s anything other than the world’s richest landfill.

Impeachment is similar to indictment, in that it is a formal accusation of wrong-doing brought against someone. Where the job of prosecutors is a bit more difficult is that they have to show evidence a crime has been committed and link said crime to the accused. Congress merely needs to impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors. One Congress impeached a President for firing a member of his own cabinet; another, for being misleading about getting a blow job.

Impeachment is enough of a joke that even Congress can handle it. But these days, with a few exceptions, Congress is an even bigger joke, and we have to listen to screeds about the Loch Ness monster and howls that by claiming not to take a given action, a prosecutor is saying that he could do the action if he wanted, a farcical conclusion on the face of it.

Resolve to impeach Trump is growing, but not among the Faux News/GOP part of the country, who all share the Sean Hannity delirium dream.

Mueller faced a grueling pair of sessions, nearly eight hours of badgering and misrepresentation of himself and his former office. He turns 75 soon, and there were quite a few times when his age was evident, when he stammered and looked a bit lost. Of course the Republicans exploited this, zeroing in on queries that they knew he was enjoined from answering because they weren’t in the report or might cause damage to the country. Knowing Mueller to be hard of hearing, they played nasty little schoolboy games, either speaking so quickly, or far enough from the microphone, that Mueller was forced to ask them to “please repeat the question” over 150 times. Republicans remind us that all very young children are sociopaths. Same furtive sense of nastiness that makes them toss ladyfingers at the cat.

And of course, Mueller had to grapple with the biggest limitation of all: The simple declaration that evidence existed that Donald Trump committed multiple felonies and should be indicted. He isn’t allowed to say that. All he can do—all he could do—was present the facts to Congress, and let them decide.

And that had to be a very lonely feeling for Bob Mueller.


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