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Thots

I fell asleep with MSNBC in my ears, which is somewhat less breathless and dramatic than CNN. Ok, there’s less pie fighting between guests anyway. My gut reaction, for what it’s worth:

To take down a threat as big and corrupt as the Trump Crime Family, you have to have an equally big counter weight of Eliot Ness type crusaders. And I’m not just talking about the Justice department or the Intelligence agencies.

It feels like some people have finally cracked the Republican code for figuring out how to drive someone out of office.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These people, the Trumps and an untold number of the GOP, really deserve it. It wouldn’t be worth all this effort to take down some rinky dink run-of-the-mill incompetent and wreckless GOP president like George W. Bush. No, you just have to let that kind of tragedy run its course. But for truly cruel, thuggish, greedy, bad guys like the Trump Crime Family and its enablers, nothing short of an all out Chicago Way style battle is going to work.

I think it’s the timing of the events yesterday that made my tin foil antenna twitch. I’d been hearing for a few days that Cohen was going to be indicted. But to time it so that his confessional would coincide with the jury verdict in the Manafort trial? Maybe Cohen’s was scheduled in advance regardless of the jury but it wasn’t postponed. No, it was “go with throttle up”.

Then there was Duncan Hunter getting indicted for … campaign finance violations. Who could have predicted? And that follows on the heels of Chris Collins suspending his campaign over an insider trading indictment.

I have this feeling that there are going to be a LOT of these kinds of indictments coming up. How conveeeeeeenient.

It’s like some political insiders, chess masters, ruthless street fighting lawyers, Mr. MoneyBucks funders and brave little porn stars got together and decided to fight back. It’s like the least likely set of action heros imaginable. A new kind of justice league.

They’ve been biding their time, sacrificing a few of their own and waiting for just the right moment.

It’s almost like this goes beyond politics. It’s like someone actually gives AF.

Of course, I could be all wrong about this and it’s just a Dream.

But it’s better than the Trumpish nightmare we’ve been living for the last two years.

Cue the special effects massive crashing climax.

*******************************

Morning music:

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23 Responses

  1. Yes, there’s more coming down the pike. This is far from over.

  2. I do not want to dampen the excitement of yesterday’s results, I want to be hopeful about all of it. It is just that what is ultimately necessary is the destruction of the entire Republican Party to where it cannot control any branch of government. They’ve got it all set up; they are packing the courts, gerrymandering, vote suppressing, pouring in billions every election through dark Citizens United-allowed money. And they’ve got the Russians on their side, too. All the world’s oligarchs working together, like in some ominous movie where only a superhero with magic powers can defeat them. I hope it is not as bad as that, but the Republicans work every day to entrench themselves in power, while Democrats have earnest discussions about policy, and who is too old or young, and who should be the “voice of the party.”

    Do we want Trump impeached and removed? Of course–except that we are unlikely to get Pence out, too. The paradox is that the only way that sufficient Republicans would vote to remove Trump, is if he were seen an impediment to their goals of absolute power, and their dreadful agenda; and they could then pivot to someone else who does not have Trump’s belligerence and blatant immorality. Republicans do not “do the right thing,” and they do not suddenly turn into Democrats or people concerned about economic equality and global warming. So I ask myself, if it is a given that a Republican will control the Executive Branch until 2021, do we want it to be Trump or Pence? Oh, yes, in a dream scenario, the Democrats win the House in November; Trump and Pence are both removed, and Pelosi becomes President. But Republicans will never allow that. Both their leaders and their base have gotten to the point where they would rather have Russia running this country, in league with a dominionist dictator, than let the Democrats lead. It is really a war to the death here; Republicans have to be thoroughly discredited as a party. Hard to do when the media is always ready to help them out.

    So the question, not easily answered, is, “what is the near term ‘endgame’ we are looking for? Not that I can control this, of course, but it is worthwhile to consider it. Trump is a good target to run against in November; and everyone must vote to bring in big margins to counter the suppression and big dark money blitz, and the Russian hacking. Then we can survey the battlefield. But I still do not know that trading Trump, as dangerous and horrible as he is, for Pence, does us much good. Of course, maybe Mueller will have something on Pence, but Republicans will make sure that he is installed long enough to appoint another dreadful person as VP, who would take over. And maybe Pence would be easier to beat in 2020 than Trump, though I well remember that after Nixon was forced to resign, Ford came in and very nearly won the next election; following which Republicans won the next three elections; so much for Republicans being disgraced as a party.

    What should happen is that the entire 2016 election should be rescinded, and Hillary should be made President. But that would only occur in a more uplifting and heroic movie. Russia, in league with Republicans, hacked Democrats, hacked voting rolls; caused the election results to be altered. But no one is going to give us the much needed invalidation of the election, and all the appointments and executive orders made by the person who was illegally installed as president. A better form of government would mandate this. The founders of this country were mostly very intelligent and dedicated people who meant well in building as good a democracy as they could imagine in their century. But its flaws, limitations, and dangers were built in; and ultimately, when a Party arose whose only end was winning and power, never compromise or fairness, the entire system which they envisioned seemed to unravel into tyranny. How do we get out of this, and restore the democracy; and save the planet? Maybe we can only just go ahead one step at at time, and see where we are then. I do not see any grand plans on the horizon, though I wish we had some great philosopher king or queen on hand to game it all out for us. I guess that is why superhero movies are so endlessly popular. I don’t see very many of those, but I do like RD’s image of a sort of rag-tag group of regular people somehow managing to topple the dark forces. It is just that these dark forces are more than one president, or even a group of oligarchs; they are embedded at all levels, brainwashed by partisanship, religion, or utter ignorance, into fighting against us every step of the way.

    • Pence is as dirty as Trump when it comes to Russia. Pence was picked by Manafort. Pence headed up the transition with Mike Flynn. If Pence was put in office, he wouldn’t be there for long.

      • But nobody’s accused him of any sort of irregular conduct at this point, much less an actual crime. I don’t see two successive impeachments and convictions (I’m pretty dubious about even one, given the math) happening – I think there would be a lot of reluctance to put the country through that.

        • He wouldn’t have to be impeached. Even if he did nothing but sit there like he has been and Trump is removed, he would only be there probably less than 2 years. The GOP could decide to get him to resign. He could lose in a primary. He could lose a general election.

          • I could see him losing a reelection bid (after all, Ford did – but he was leading in the polls until he blew it in the debate) or even a primary contest.

            I suspect the aftermath of the first successful Presidential impeachment and removal would produce a pretty widespread desire for stability (just as the aftermath of Nixon’s resignation did). I don’t think anyone (particularly in the GOP) would push Pence to resign. He might decide not to run for reelection, but I think he’d serve out his term. Besides, I think he’d quickly appoint a VP and I would expect Congress to confirm as long as the nominee wasn’t a total lunatic.

    • William, you, as usual, brilliantly articulated the dire situation in which the Republic, and we the people, now find ourselves. I have no doubt that if Hillary were to run again, she would still lose to a Republican; too much entrenched ratfucking to overcome in my lifetime. I want to be optimistic about this country’s future, but i have serious concerns that even a Blue Tsunami would get us out of this in 2018 or 2020. To me, rescinding a rigged election, installing Hillary with at least a Dem House and a balanced Senate at her back, is our last and only chance. The odds of that happening are probably nil.

      • Thank you for the kind words. I will say that if this were somehow reversed (not that it could be; Democrats do not behave this way), and a Democrat won an election because of massive interference by a foreign power, there would be a lot of pressure put by various forces to either rescind the entire election, or for the President to resign or be impeached, and before that to put in a VP who was a Republican and would take over. Republicans would not rest until they got that result. It seems obvious that if Russia was able to target millions of voters with fake news stories and propaganda, because they and the Republicans worked hand in hand with Cambridge Analytic; if Russians hacked and then had Wikileaks disseminate the stolen emails, both of which are crimes; and the Republicans conspired with them; the entire election was illegitimate and should be done over. Otherwise, the principle is that one can do any kind of cheating or illegality to win; and then the criminals get to dismantle the government, destroy the judicial and justice system, steal billions of taxpayer dollars,as a reward for the crimes. To say, as even Hillary reluctantly does, that there is no mechanism in our constitution to redo an election, is to concentrate on the wrong thing, I believe. I am not sure that a moderate Supreme Court would not invalidate the election, but this one wouldn’t; more reason for McConnell to laugh at norms and not hold hearings on Garland. Obama should have tested that at the Supreme Court level before it was too late.

        I actually think that Hillary would win; the rightful heir regaining her legacy, as in the chivalrous stories; but I am not certain, of course; and she will not run. I think she would have a better chance than most of the hopefuls. I wish that Tom Steyer would spend some of the millions he does to run impeachment ads, to run ads for a re-election. There simply has to be some punishment for cheating and lawbreaking to win a presidential election, than that the president might be impeached two years later, with all of his damage done. Or to put in another way: Russia engaged in a coup to take over this country; and they are very much embedded here as a result of this election, and they would not willingly go away just because Trump might be removed. But the Republicans are much more concerned with their wealth and their power than making the country whole.

    • “in a dream scenario, the Democrats win the House in November; Trump and Pence are both removed, and Pelosi becomes President. ”

      Democrats winning the House would be enough to get an impeachment vote, but it’s not enough to secure a conviction (and removal) in the Senate. There are not enough Republicans up for reelection this year for Democrats to achieve the necessary supermajority for a conviction – so the only way for a conviction to happen is for the evidence against Trump to be so overwhelming (and the crimes themselves so egregious) that a significant number of Republicans vote to convict. I do not expect that to happen. As for Pence, nobody has even accused him of anything (other than being a benighted troglodyte, of course), so we’d be stuck with him anyway.

      • One of the GOP reps did an interview today and said he thought the GOP would get rid of Trump if he became too burdensome. However, I have my doubts on that. It would blow the entire GOP up. Ryan said denying Trump the nomination would blow the GOP up which it might have. So he thinks it’s a great idea to put forth Trump and then have 60% of the country suffer because he’s more worried about the deplorables.

        • This is why the evidence has to be overwhelming. If the evidence of criminal behavior is overwhelming, there are certainly Republicans in the Senate who would vote to convict (Gardner definitely, Collins perhaps, Graham definitely, etc.). I suspect having Pence waiting in the wings would make that more likely (which is a little scary, since I think Pence would be the More Effective Evil).

  3. RD I agree with you. If there is no equal and devastating counterforce to trump crime extravaganza I will be disappointed. But I think there is and he will fall. What good are all these lawyers if they don’t put up a fight for their country? We don’t know what is happening and we need to have faith. But VOTE them out for good measure.

  4. I heard someone on MSNBC last night who made the point that the people who were harmed were the 65 million people who voted for The other presidential candidate.

    • Unfortunately, the media doesn’t care about the 65 million who voted for Hillary or those who voted third party for that matter. They also don’t care that we are depressed, anxious, angry, frightened and often sleepless.

  5. William Rivers Pitt sez:

    “The single greatest strength of the modern conservative movement is its utter and complete lack of shame.” 👿

  6. Peter Beinart in The Atlantic:

    Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/what-trumps-supporters-think-of-corruption/568147/

    Hint: They define “corruption” differently. 👿

  7. I wanted to go a little further into that issue of rescinding an election. “There is no mechanism in the Constitution for i t.” That should not be dispositive, there is no mechanism spelled out there for a number of things which have to be dealt with in this or other eras. More specifically, let us just imagine that a bunch of Russians had gone to many polling places (they offered to, remember) and had worn Trump buttons,, and had carried guns with them. And many people turned around and did not vote. There is no mechanism to redo any of this? If that seems too far-fetched, what if Russians or Americans sent out millions of letters to registered voters which looked completely official, and told them that their voting places had been changed, or that a new law had extended voting hours until 10. And hundreds of thousands of people had shown up after actual hours and could not vote, or turned up at fictitious polling places and were then too late to vote in the right one? No mechanism to rescind any results; cheating and lawbreaking might punish the perpetrators but not the people elected by them?

    The idea (this is the staple of law school!) is to push this far enough that at some point people will concede that there is at least some action or cheating that would nullify the election. Because if not, then people, particularly citizens of another country who could quickly return there to evade our laws, could do anything to kick people off the voting rolls, tamper with the polling places, and there is no recourse. The person they wanted to elect, wins, and that was the goal. There has to be some mechanism to invalidate an election in which a candidate surely affected the results by doing illegal things, or else “everything is permitted.”

    Now, the counter to this is of course the other extreme; the idea that if there is some amorphous invalidation principle, everyone will try to avail themselves of it, by claiming something or other, even setting up people to do something illegal to benefit the opposite side, so that if their side loses, they can invalidate. But I do not think that the answer to this is a shrug of the shoulders, and a concession that no election can be invalidated, even if one side commits crimes to affect the vote. Next time, Republicans will simply throw Democrats off the rolls at the last minute, so that they have no idea why they are not allowed to vote when they show up. Millions of them are disenfranchised, but the election stands? Is there anything which would invalidate a presidential election result? I think that there has to be, if this is to remain a democracy. I would love to read a Supreme Court opinion where they had the gall to say that no matter what, every election stands. Of course they will not take such a case, because they would be forced to deal with this issue.

    • The problem here is that there isn’t one single popular election to overturn. The selection of electors is up to the states – there’s no constitutional requirement to hold a popular vote for President (or rather Presidential electors) at all. All the Constitution says about this is:

      Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
      – Article II, Section 1

      States can appoint electors any way their legislatures direct: plebiscite (which all states happen to do), gubernatorial appointment, vote of the legislature, drawing lots, musical chairs, trial by combat, you name it. Ultimately, you’re not talking about challenging a single election – you’re talking about challenging the selection of electors in each of the states plus the District of Columbia. That’s 51 separate challenges.

      Your challenges would have to take place under the laws of each individual state, nearly all of which place a time limit on challenges to election results. For example, challenges to election results in my state (Colorado) must be filed within 10 days of the election. I would expect the Colorado Supreme Court (which has jurisdiction over the selection of electors) to refuse to hear any attempt to challenge results at this late date.

      Even if you could overturn the selection of electors for several states, I’m not sure that would change the results. There is a hard deadline for the tabulation of electoral votes (the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December), and there’s no provision for any kind of do-over in the event a state wants to change its electors after that tabulation. I’d expect this all to be settled by the Supreme Court, in the unlikely event such a challenge were ever successfully mounted.

    • Yes, it is unfortunate that results were not challenged in certain key states prior to the deadline, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida. Not necessarily a recount, but if there was a suit claiming specific improprieties; at least that would have made such an action timely and such a suit may have been still in the courts. This may have allowed for additional facts now known to be brought in. I find it heartening that there remain cases involving emoluments and that suit brought by the DNC for hacking, at least. These suits were filed a long time ago- if such suits were filed re: election indiscretions in enough key states that controlled sufficient electors, it may have precipitated an action to modify the electoral results? (Although likely not and it is moot now anyway).

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