Saturday, October 15, 2022

Something to Know - 15 October

It does not do much good to rehash or bring up any or all of the misbehaviors (both genetic and criminal) exhibited by DJ Trump.   We have heard it all, and much of it over and over again.   There exists that segment of our population that tunes out any and all evidence that trump is a bad person, for whom the effort to educate or rehabilitate will never work or be influenced by non-maggers.  Then, there is that segment of elected Republicans, a small number who fall into the realm of the genuine authoritarian and anti-democratic blockheads, and those who are aligned by fear of losing power, or who have committed themselves into holes from which they cannot possibly retreat.   I believe that we still have a majority of Americans who still believe in Democracy and the Rule of Law, and will take what has been presented by the Select Committee as a call to action and go forth and do what is necessary to help recover the reason for our being as a nation.   Sounds corny, doesn't it?  So, our future is tied to our successes from the past, and a realization that seditious eruptions have happened before, and that we are all capable of being the good citizens envisioned by great people before the slime and disgust of authoritarianism infected our raison d'ĂȘtre.   This, from today's NY Times, brings up to where we are today:


Donald Trump Has Told Americans Exactly Who He Is

Oct. 14, 2022

Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.

The biggest news to come out of the ninth and (for now) final hearing of the Jan. 6 committee, on Thursday afternoon, was obvious: A subpoena requiring a former president to testify about his role in a deadly insurrection that he incited in order to prevent the transfer of power to his lawful successor is, to put it mildly, not something you see every day.
It was the right thing to do, although even in the drama of the moment (Mr. Schiff? Aye. Ms. Cheney? Aye.) it felt somewhat obligatory. After more than a year of dogged investigation involving hundreds of witnesses; thousands of texts, emails and other documents; countless sickening videos and photographs; and breathtaking testimony about the events leading up to that horrific day — all pointing directly at Donald Trump — how else could the committee have wrapped things up?
"We want to hear from him," Representative Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, said in justifying the extraordinary motion, which he and the other members proceeded to authorize by a 9-to-0 vote.
Whether we actually hear from Mr. Trump is another matter. Immediately after the hearing, he mocked the committee on his social media site, asking why it had not called him to testify months ago. Anyone who hasn't been in a coma for the past seven years could tell you this is classic Trumpian misdirection. The man doesn't take any oath he isn't prepared to violate, and he goes to lengths to avoid appearing anywhere that he can be criminally charged for lying.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump craves the spotlight. If the committee were to agree to his reported demand that his testimony be aired on live TV, he might actually go through with it. After all, it would be free prepublicity for his likely presidential run — even if he did nothing but invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, as he did more than 400 times during a deposition last summer, part of a New York State investigation into whether he fraudulently inflated his real estate assets. (The state's attorney general, Letitia James, determined that he had, suing Mr. Trump, his family business and three of his adult children for lying to lenders and insurers to the tune of billions of dollars.)
However the subpoena negotiations play out, it's important to remember one thing: We already have heard from him. Again and again and again and again, Mr. Trump has told the American people who he is, what he wants and exactly how he plans to get it — the law, the Constitution and the Republic be damned.
Sometimes he says it directly; sometimes it comes through the remarks of his closest allies or administration officials. Consider just a sampling of quotations that the Jan. 6 committee summarized in Thursday's hearing:

'We want all voting to stop.'
Mr. Trump said this on national television, in the early morning hours of Nov. 4, after initial vote counts that showed him in the lead began to move toward Joe Biden as more votes rolled in. The phenomenon was so predictable that it already had a name: the blue shift. In fact, Mr. Trump was warned repeatedly that this was very likely to happen, in part because of his own actions. Throughout the summer of 2020, he discouraged his supporters from voting by mail, meaning that mail-in ballots, which some states don't start counting until polls close, would skew toward Democrats. Rather than accept what he must have known to be true, Mr. Trump effectively called for the disenfranchisement of tens of millions of Americans. But it was worse than that.

'What Trump's going to do is just declare victory, right? He's going to declare victory.
But that doesn't mean he's the winner. He's just going to say he's a winner.'
That was Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign manager and a former top White House adviser, speaking with a group of associates shortly before Election Day 2020. He was laying out in plain view the plan he knew was in the works. And it had been in the works for months. As the committee revealed on Thursday, Brad Parscale, who managed Mr. Trump's 2020 bid, testified that the former president "planned as early as July that he would say he won the election even if he lost."

'There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.'
Bill Barr, Mr. Trump's attorney general, said this in his testimony to the committee, describing his frustration with trying to bat away the unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud that Mr. Trump kept bringing to him — claims that were rejected by every federal and state court to consider them in the months after Election Day. When Mr. Barr resigned in December 2020, Mr. Trump attempted to replace him with Jeffrey Clark, an environmental lawyer in the Justice Department who had expressed a willingness to help Mr. Trump subvert the election. The plan failed only when top department officials threatened to resign if Mr. Clark got the job.

'He knows it's over. He knows he lost, but we're going to keep trying.'

According to testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump's last chief of staff, Mr. Meadows said this to her soon after Mr. Trump called Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and tried in vain to shake him down for 11,780 votes, exactly one more than Mr. Biden's margin of victory in the state. That was on Jan. 2, four days before Mr. Trump stood before tens of thousands of his supporters at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., and repeated many of the claims of voting fraud that he had been repeatedly told were false. He knew that many of those supporters were armed, because they had refused to pass through the magnetometers that had been set up for Mr. Trump's safety. But he didn't care. As he said, according to Ms. Hutchinson, "They're not here to hurt me."
As the committee revealed on Thursday, the Secret Service was aware of the threat of violence and specifically of an armed attack on the Capitol more than a week before Jan. 6. "Their plan is to literally kill people," one tipster wrote. Mr. Trump was informed of the threats, too, before he whipped the mob into a frenzy and urged them to march on the Capitol.
These are only a few examples pulled from the immense body of evidence that the Jan. 6 committee has compiled for the American people and the world to see. Together they paint a clear and damning picture of the man who sat in the Oval Office for four years and will almost certainly try to again. Before that happens, Mr. Trump must be "required to answer for his actions," as Mr. Thompson rightly said. It sounds so basic and yet, with Mr. Trump, it has remained so elusive.

That may be on the verge of changing. In addition to a criminal prosecution for the Jan. 6 insurrection, Mr. Trump could well be charged with federal offenses over the removal from the White House of hundreds of documents, some highly classified. He also faces a potential prosecution in Georgia for his efforts to subvert the election there.
These prosecutions would not by themselves solve all our problems. They would not neutralize the danger of the Republican Party, which is now infected from coast to coast with proudly ignorant conspiracymongers, wild-eyed election deniers and gun-toting maniacs. Led by Mr. Trump, the party has morphed into the greatest threat to the Republic since the Confederacy: a revanchist cult that refuses to accept electoral defeat. The Times reported on Thursday that a vast majority of the Republican candidates for top federal and state offices around the country either question or deny the 2020 presidential outcome, despite the lack of any supporting evidence.
Still, prosecutions would send a critical message to those who have put their careers and even lives on the line for American democracy or are considering doing so in the future: that their sacrifices are worth it. That when they come forward and speak the truth, the system responds with accountability. That when other people, especially the most powerful people, don't play by the rules, they face consequences.

As Representative Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, put it on Thursday, "Our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost. We have no guarantee that these men and women will be in place next time." She's right, but we can make it more likely that they will be in place by holding Mr. Trump and his co-conspirators to account. If we don't, the message we are sending is that in America, elections can be subverted and political violence is acceptable.
The Jan. 6 committee's great legacy is helping to thwart that future by laying a path to true accountability. It is up to us — and to the Department of Justice — to walk it.

"I was thinking about how people seem to read the bible a lot more as they get older, and then it
dawned on me—they're cramming 
for their final exam."- George Carlin

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