Saturday, July 23, 2022

Something to Know - 23 July

This is now Saturday.  The last "Hearing" of the summer (resuming in September) is done with, and pundits are digesting and commenting like crazy.  Bannon is found guilty on the contempt charges, and #45 keeps running around like nothing is wrong.   Heat is probably on most peoples' minds right now.  Lack of water is front and center here in California as the can keeps getting kicked down the road.    Just another week gone by:  ( a couple of opinions have been inserted, as well)

Opinion Finally, the dam is breaking against Trump

During Thursday's prime-time session, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) summed up the explosive impact of this summer's hearings by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
"The dam," she declared, "has begun to break."

Cheney, the committee's vice chair, was speaking largely of new investigative opportunities that a parade of witnesses has opened into President Donald Trump's illicit effort to maintain power. But her statement had much broader implications.
The Jan. 6 committee has fundamentally altered public perceptions of Trump's role in the violence at the Capitol.
Analysis: It's not only what Trump didn't do on Jan. 6. It's also what he did do.
It has increased the likelihood that he will be prosecuted for his efforts — from Election Day to Jan. 7, 2021 — to overthrow the outcome of a free election. It has made the attack on our democracy a central issue in this fall's midterm elections, and will keep it there with the September hearings the committee announced.

It has also weakened Trump's political position, within his party and with the broader electorate.

The committee lived up to the promise made at the outset by Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) that its evidence would demonstrate that the Jan. 6 attack was the "culmination of an attempted coup," not the work of an out-of-control crowd. The riot was of a piece with Trump's creation of slates of fake electors, pressure on GOP legislatures to throw out valid election results and even a request to a Republican election official in Georgia to "find" votes for him that didn't exist.
Eugene Robinson: Trump's behavior on Jan. 6 was worse than you thought. Much worse.
Trump harbored hopes that the mayhem would block or delay Congress's certification of his defeat, as Thursday's hearing made clear. He was prepared to endanger the life of his vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to act illegally in obstructing Joe Biden's victory. Against the counsel of aides and family members, Trump let the criminal assault — by a horde he knew was armed — continue for hours. He did not (grudgingly) call off the invaders until it was clear his stratagem had failed.

The committee's presentation also showed that Republican politicians could pay a significant long-term price for staying loyal to Trump.
Trump's mastery of the Republican Party has been underscored by the reluctance of leaders who denounced him immediately after Jan. 6 to press the matter any further. They either resigned themselves to his power in the party and fell silent or, in the case of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and so many of his colleagues, reverted to pro-Trump sycophancy.
Alexandra Petri: More outtakes from Trump's Jan. 7 speech
So it must have been very satisfying for Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican who co-led Thursday's hearing with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), to show footage of McCarthy denouncing Trump shortly after the attack. Since then, McCarthy has led the internal party persecution of Cheney and Kinzinger for continuing to insist upon a truth that McCarthy himself once acknowledged.


       The formation in 1971 of the Libertarian Party and its
       national platform affirmed the right of states to secede
       on three vital principles: "We shall support recognition
       of the right to secede. Political units or areas which do
       secede should be recognized by the United States as
       independent political entities where: (1) secession is
       supported by a majority within the political unit, (2) the
       majority does not attempt suppression of the dissenting
       minority, and (3) the government of the new entity is at
       least as compatible with human freedom as that from
       which it seceded."

This strikes me as another reason for not being a Libertarian.  Apart from the general absurdity of the proposition (what exactly happens when a majority of voters in the City of West Covina vote to secede from the United States?), there is the problem of defining "human freedom."  Is freedom maximized when women have the right to abortion on demand, or when the life and potential liberty of the fetus is protected from destruction?  Are we more free when the coach is allowed to pray over a megaphone at football games, or when he is forced to keep his prayers to himself?  Am I more free when I get to drive my stinking diesel vehicle, or when I am protected from breathing the fumes emitted by yours?  A city that seceded on one definition of freedom might find itself forcibly reclaimed by a more inclusive governmental unit acting on the other definition.

The committee also called the bluff of the GOP's Ivy League Fake Populist Caucus. After showing a photo of Sen. Josh Hawley (Republican of Missouri and Yale Law School) going into the Capitol with a fist raised in solidarity with the pro-Trump mob, they ran video of him fleeing in terror as the violent crowd surged through the hallways.
Trump still has a hold on his party, and many of his election-denying candidates have prevailed in primaries. But recent polling in Michigan, New Hampshire and nationwide suggests that a large share of Republicans are searching for 2024 alternatives, growing weary of Trump and becoming exhausted by his refusal to let go of his 2020 election defeat. Footage of the taping of a Trump speech on Jan. 7 that captured his refusal to say "the election is over" brought home how lies about 2020 are now the heart of his political message.
By systematically calling on Republicans, including his former aides (not "his political enemies," Cheney pointed out), to describe what Sarah Matthews, Trump's former deputy press secretary, called his "indefensible" behavior, the committee sought to reach beyond a Democratic Party base that already despises the former president.
Ruth Marcus: I'm no longer doubtful. If Garland has a case, Trump must be prosecuted
This, along with the committee's commitment to hold more hearings this fall, is a message to the roughly one-fifth of Republicans who have an unfavorable view of Trump as well as independent voters: The imperative this year is to defeat GOP politicians who refuse to face up to Trump's crimes against democracy.
U,S. Constitution, Amendment 14, Section 3:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in
Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President,
or hold any office, civil or military, under the United
States, or under any State, who, having previously
taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an
officer of the United States, or as a member of any
State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer
of any State, to support the Constitution of the United
States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion
against the same, or given aid or comfort to the
enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-
thirds of each House, remove such disability.

If it be granted that January 6 constituted an insurrection, this pretty obviously bars Donald Trump from the Presidency.  "Aid or comfort" has surely been established.

The word "crimes" is key to the other major effect of the committee's work: If the Justice Department might once have worried that prosecuting Trump would appear "political," it now has reason to be far more concerned about the message it would send if it fails to investigate and indict a former president so eager to trample the law and to welcome violence.
The committee's task was to ensure that Trump is held accountable — morally, politically and legally. On all these fronts, the dam really has broken.

The Republican Party - willing agents and representatives of the Gun Manufacturing and Ammunition Industry - "the lobby".

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