Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Seditious Tradition: There Were Numerous "January 6"s In The Decades Following The Civil War

Chris Hayes highlights a few of the "January 6"s that occurred in the years directly following the Civil War. The broad outlines of these attacks against duly-elected governments sound extremely similar to the anti-democracy rhetoric we heard on and after January 6, 2021.

It's rhetoric we can hear today from the numerous pro-sedition members of the House and Congress who are working overtime to do anything and everything they can (passing laws to restrict voting rights, voter nullification, erasing the effect of non-white votes through racist redistricting, etc.) to make sure their next attempt is successful.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Trump Schemed To Lead An Armed Attack On The Capitol, To Overthrow The Government; He Wanted His Vice President Murdered; When Thwarted, He Tried, In A Fury, To Take Control Of The Presidential Limo And Moved To Strangle A Secret Service Agent

Tuesday, June 28, was a day unlike any other in United States history, as the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol heard nearly an hour of jaw-dropping testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the 26-year-old aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

CNN's Jake Tapper described it as "one of the most stunning offerings of testimony in American history". Also: "shocking", "obscene" and "worse than we ever imagined". A CNN lawyer stated there was clear and unambiguous evidence that Donald Trump committed numerous "premeditated" criminal acts ("These are the actions of a tyrant.") The lawyer believed Trump will face a "long" list of criminal charges. If so, he would be the first president in United States history to be charged with a crime following his departure from office. (He is already the only US president to be impeached twice.)

Seth Abramson, a best-selling author of three books detailing numerous crimes committed by Trump while in office, a former criminal defense attoney for 15 years, and owner of the Proof substack, was live-tweeting Hutchinson's testimony:
"I'M THE FUCKING PRESIDENT! TAKE ME UP TO THE CAPITOL NOW!" Trump yelled at the Secret Service *and tried to grab the steering wheel* and then *physically attacked the Secret Service* to try to stop them from taking him to the White House. I *swear* I am not making this up. This is literally the most batshit thing I have ever heard uttered by any witness under oath in any case I have ever seen. And it is clearly 100% true and corroborated.
Five minutes later, he called it quite possibly "the most stunning public hearing in American history":
Honestly some watching this hearing will think that a warrant for Trump's arrest should be issued *today*. And no one could blame them. At all. . . . "Arrest Trump" is now trending on Twitter . . . If you watched what I just watched, you *do* think Trump that must be arrested now. Today. Without any delay other than the securing of a properly signed federal arrest warrant.
Also: The only reason Trump made any statement against the attack (on January 7) was because he did not want to be removed from office under the 25th Amendment.

Denver Riggleman, a former Republican Congressman and former advisor to the January 6 Committee, said: "I don't think the American public has seen anything yet." There has been, for example, no public testimony about the detailed, months-long planning schemes with various racist miltia groups. Riggleman called Hutchinson "the bridge" to more damning information that will be coming out in the future.

The Reporting

Wajahat Ali, The Daily Beast, June 28, 2022:
In her damning and chilling testimony on Tuesday, Hutchinson, a former top aide to Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, unleashed an arsenal of smoking guns. She not only implicated the Trump administration but exposed the entire right-wing ecosystem as active and willing participants in a failed authoritarian’s desire to use violence, intimidation, and illegality to ensure power for his radicalized MAGA movement that has now consumed the GOP and replaced all "rational" Republicans.

According to Hutchinson, the Trump administration knew the protesters were heavily armed, but Trump cared more about his crowd size. Indeed, she said, Trump embraced and welcomed his own personal army. "I don't fucking care that they have weapons," was Trump's response, according to Hutchinson. "They're not here to hurt me. Take the fucking [metal detectors] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here." These are the same protesters who the Republican National Committee earlier this year said were "ordinary citizens" engaged in a "legitimate political discourse." . . .

A November PRRI poll revealed that a third of Republicans believe violence might be necessary "in order to save the country." One of the most terrifying moments from this hearing was a video of Gen. Michael Flynn pleading the Fifth when asked under oath whether he believes violence on Jan. 6 was justified. He said that after pondering the question with his attorney for over a minute. He further declined to say whether he believes in the peaceful transfer of power. 
Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, June 28, 2022:
Never in American history has there been a portrayal of a president so unfit for office or so willing to betray his oath in a desperate bid to retain power. Never have so many people in such positions of immense authority stayed so shamefully silent for so long about the horrifying behavior they witnessed, on Jan. 6, 2021, and before. . . .

In an administration of enablers, in a crowd of sycophants unwilling even now to stand up to Donald Trump and speak publicly about his unhinged conduct, Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, emerged from obscurity Tuesday, an unlikely — and lonely — truth-teller.

Hutchinson was the perfect witness to testify to the dereliction of duty she observed in the final days of the Trump White House, a Trump believer turned reluctant informant. Her GOP bona fides, including internships for House Republican whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), could not have been more impeccable, nor her demeanor — calm and sorrowful — more convincing. . . .

[H]er breaking point arrived on Jan. 6 — and in the end, she was willing to abandon the code of complicit silence that still prevails among too many of her former colleagues. . . .

"I remember feeling frustrated and disappointed, and really it felt personal. I was really sad," Hutchinson told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. "As an American I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie."
Carl Hulse, New York Times, June 28, 2022:
Mr. Trump was prone to rage as his attempts to get the election results overturned fell on deaf ears in his administration.

Upon learning on Dec. 1 that Attorney General William P. Barr had publicly declared the allegations of widespread voter fraud unfounded, Ms. Hutchinson said Trump slammed his lunch against a wall in his dining room in the White House, as she learned from the valet who cleaned up the broken china and ketchup dripping down the wall.

"There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go on to the floor and likely break or go everywhere," she said of the president.
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, June 28, 2022:
Hutchinson testified that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was giddy about Jan. 6 leading up to the day. Giuliani told her that "we are going to the Capitol." When Hutchinson asked Meadows about the conversation, he replied, "There's a lot going on, Cass, but I don't know. Things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6."

Hutchinson also said that even the president's director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, wanted nothing to do with the White House's post-election scheme. She confirmed that Meadows and other officials were aware of the potential for violence. Even on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Meadows was informed about armed protesters. Then-deputy White House chief of staff Tony Ornato told Trump about weapons present at the rally on the morning of the insurrection, a stunning confirmation that Trump knew of danger.

Hutchinson's testimony suggested that Meadows was utterly indifferent to reports of potential violence. Meanwhile, Trump was furious that the Ellipse outside the White House, where the rally took place, was not filled with people. He demanded that attendees be allowed to go through the security checks with their weapons. Hutchinson testified that Trump said, "I don't f---ing care that they have weapons. Let my people go. They're not here to hurt me." [There were numerous police reports of men with AR-15s in the mob.]
David A. Graham, The Atlantic, June 28, 2022:
That is the most damning moment to emerge from the hearings so far. Trump's supporters' defense of the president's behavior that day up until now has been that he simply wanted a peaceful demonstration, and didn't anticipate the violence that broke out when his supporters stormed the Capitol. Some allies have denied that demonstrators were even armed. The defense has never been especially plausible, but Hutchinson's testimony demolishes it.

Her account establishes that Trump knew the crowd was armed and understood they were there to threaten or harm someone—specifically, his opponents—and that he wanted them to march on the Capitol with those weapons. Once the rioters had begun to approach the Capitol, Trump refused to lift a finger to stop the violence. When the top White House lawyer told Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the president had to act, Meadows replied, according to Hutchinson, "He doesn't want to do anything." Later, when rioters chanted that Pence should be hanged, Hutchinson recalled, Meadows told the same lawyer, "He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong."
Matt Fuller, The Daily Beast, June 28, 2022:
Hutchinson testified that a number of lines Trump wanted included in his Jan. 6 speech were flagged and ultimately deleted by the White House Counsel's office. Hutchinson said some of those phrases were things like "'fight for Trump,' 'we're going to march to the Capitol,' 'fight for what we're doing,' 'fight for the movement.'"

She added that there were lines about the vice president as well that were flagged and deleted. [Trump went off script and said some of them anyway.]
Jeremy Stahl, Slate, June 28, 2022:
Trump requested that the magnetometers [metal detectors] be removed from the entrance to his rally, even though the president was told his supporters had been found carrying weapons, such as [AR-15s and] flagpoles being fastened with spears.
I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, "I don't even care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f-ing mags away."
Hutchinson further explained that Trump was "fucking furious"—as she put it in a text at the time—because he wanted the space for his rally "to be maxed out at capacity for all attendees." In tape from her previous deposition, she said he was concerned about "the photograph that we would get because the rally space wasn't full," and that "he was angry that we weren't letting people through the mags with weapons."
Amanda Marcotte, Salon, June 28, 2022:
Hutchinson had more to tell, and the main takeaway is so wild it would be hard to believe if it were any other president. Trump's vision for January 6 was that he would be a general in an ill-fitting suit, standing before Congress with an army of armed red hats behind him, telling the legislature to give him the White House or else. But let's face it: because it's Trump it's all too easy to believe. This is the same clown who dramatically pulled his mask off from the White House balcony like he was tearing down an enemy flag when he returned from the hospital from COVID-19. The same man who marched through a tear-gas-cleared Lafayette Park flanked by a battalion of security to wave a Bible around in the posture of some imaginary Christian soldier. We've endured enough of Trump's reality TV-informed flair for cheesy drama. At this point, it would be more of a surprise to find out he didn't want to pull off a knock-off remake of Mussolini's march on Rome on Jan. 6.

The corniness of Trump's fascist aesthetic is weird, but it's important not to lose sight of the most important takeaway of Hutchinson's testimony: There was a mind-meld between Trump and his minions who stormed the Capitol on January 6, based largely on their shared enthusiasm for violence.

As Hutchinson laid out, Trump was not only aware that many in the rally crowd were heavily armed, he seemed to be counting on it. He got angry with the Secret Service for not letting people with AR-15s and body armor clamor to his side during the rally . . . He demanded that the armed thugs that support him "march to the Capitol from here."
Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, Washington Post, June 28, 2022:
But on the morning of the insurrection, Hutchinson testified, Cipollone urged her to prevent Trump from going to the Capitol building with the growing, seething crowd of protesters he had assembled nearby. Hutchinson described the scene this way:

Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, "Please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen."

Keep in mind that one of Cipollone's jobs as White House counsel was to keep people who work in the White House, including the president, from committing crimes — something that, according to Hutchinson, he was clearly worried about.

Notably, Cipollone's fear intensified as Jan. 6 wore on. Hutchinson testified that as the riot spun out of control, Cipollone came "barreling down the hallway towards our office" to tell Meadows they had to talk to the president. She continued:
And Mark looked up and said, "He doesn't want to do anything, Pat." Cipollone then replied, "Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your f---ing hands. This is getting out of control. I'm going down there."
. . . What's critical here is that Trump and his advisers have never conceded that the mob assault on the Capitol was in any way connected to his efforts to procedurally overturn the election (which they don't concede was criminal or wrong either, but put that aside for now).

Yet Cipollone clearly seemed to see Trump's manipulation of the mob as directly linked to the president's efforts to subvert the electoral count, which Cipollone seemed to see as potential criminality.

"This was what was so devastating about today," Eliason says, noting that Tuesday's hearing provided the most direct evidence yet tying Trump's machinations "directly to the mob and the violence." Neal Katyal, a former U.S. solicitor general, notes that when Hutchinson testified that Trump expressly wanted supporters carrying weapons let in to the rally on the Ellipse, that might have also pointed to legal vulnerability.

"The picture painted today is one of Trump assisting with an insurrection," Katyal told us, noting that this could implicate the federal statute against rebellion or insurrection, or lending aid and comfort to either. . . .

Trump refused to call off the mob for more than three hours, helping lead to horrifying destruction and death, apparently as part of a broader effort to disrupt the election's conclusion. "The failure to try to stop it, and the encouraging of it, is further evidence of the overall conspiracy to obstruct," Eliason said.

"He sat on his hands during the three hours of the attack, giving massive assistance to the insurrectionists storming the capitol," Katyal added.

And keep this in mind: the Jan. 6 committee vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), concluded by saying that during the next hearings, the committee will detail still more about what Trump did while the violence raged. Things will get worse for Trump.
Amanda Carpenter, The Bulwark, June 28, 2022:
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone warned Hutchinson that if staff allowed [Trump] to lead the mob to the Capitol, "We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen."

Hutchinson said then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told her that Robert Engel, then the head of Trump's Secret Service detail, refused to take Trump to the Capitol. When Engel refused, Trump said, "I'm the f'ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now." Then, Trump "reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel." She said Ornato told her that Trump used his free hand to "lunge" at Engel. In recounting this story to Hutchinson (in the presence of Engel), Ornato gestured toward to his throat to indicate a physical attack.

Trump steadfastly refused to condemn the attack. Instead, he wanted to make a speech defending the rioters, raising his willingness to pardon them, and issue further attacks on then-Vice President Mike Pence. (Which is exactly what Trump is doing in speeches now.)
Kyle Cheney, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Nicholas Wu, Politico, June 28, 2022:
The former White House aide's remarks portrayed Trump as spiraling into an increasingly manic rage as he continued his last-ditch effort to seize a second term he didn't win. Hutchinson offered some of the gravest evidence yet of Trump's awareness of the violent elements within his base that were ultimately unleashed against Congress — and his indifference to the ultimate result. . . .

Signs of Trump's fury had been emerging for weeks, Hutchinson said, recalling that Trump once hurled a plate of food at the wall after his Justice Department batted down claims of widespread election fraud.

Hutchinson's comments came in an explosive public hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee . . . Her knowledge, informed by being present in nearly every meeting involving Meadows during the post-election period, have quickly propelled Hutchinson into a prominent role for Capitol riot investigators. . . .

She described an eerily nonchalant reaction by Meadows as he learned details of the escalating violence at the Capitol.

"I remember distinctly Mark not looking up from his phone," Hutchinson recalled.

And she further testified to the panel that Meadows raised concerns 100 hours before a violent mob stormed the Capitol . . .

"Things might get real, real bad," Hutchinson recalled Meadows telling her on Jan. 2, 2021. . . .

Another conversation she relayed to the panel, with then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, honed in on his growing fear that Trump's effort to overturn the election could destabilize the country.

"He had expressed to me that he was concerned that it could spiral out of control and potentially be dangerous either for our democracy or the way that things were going for the 6th," Hutchinson said.
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, June 28, 2022:
Hutchinson testified that Giuliani and Meadows both requested pardons from Trump after the insurrection. This follows revelations from the committee last week that a number of Republican members of Congress also sought pardons. Any prosecutor would use this as evidence of guilt.

Hutchinson's appearance before the committee placed a spotlight on the list of Trump aides who have refused to come forward with their eyewitness testimony, including Meadows, Ornato, Cipollone and others. In fact, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the committee, read statements from unnamed witnesses that they had been warned by others to be "loyal" to Trump, suggesting the possibility of witness tampering.
Amanda Carpenter, The Bulwark, June 28, 2022:
At the end of the hearing, Cheney said the committee had evidence of witness tampering and further acts of intimidation from "Trump World."

Cheney said that as a matter of routine, the committee asks witnesses if they have been contacted by former colleagues or anyone else who may attempt to influence their testimony. Although she refrained from naming the witnesses, Cheney said that two people connected to the White House told the committee the following in response to those questions. She read their statements directly into the record. . . .

The most horrifying aspect of these revelations is that the 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson isn't the only one who knows all of this. Yet out of all the president's aides—a collection of well-established lawyers, people with fat media contracts, and military men with pensions—she's the one who was willing to testify under oath about it. . . .

Where is her former boss, Mark Meadows? Is he still praying for a pardon?

Where is Mike Pence? He's happy to tell everyone about how well he performed his patriotic duty on Jan. 6th. Except for the actual Jan. 6th Committee. . . .

What about the other cabinet members—the ones who privately talked about invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment to remove Trump because they knew how unhinged the president was? Shouldn't they put their experiences on the record? . . .

If only these great Republican personages could be as patriotic as the young staffer they once ordered around.
Jon Skolnik, Salon, June 28, 2022:
Donald Trump called Cassidy Hutchinson, the surprise witness in Tuesday's January 6 hearing, a "phony" after she delivered unprecedented testimony that the former president knew the Capitol riot could turn violent but did nothing to stop it.

"I hardly know who this person is … other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and a 'leaker')," Trump wrote over Truth Social, his social media platform. "She is bad news!"
Travis Gettys, Salon, June 28, 2022:
Donald Trump's one-time chief of staff Mick Mulvaney vouched for the "explosive" testimony provided by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Mulvaney, who served as Trump's chief of staff before Mark Meadows and as White House director of management and budget, said he believed Hutchinson's testimony, and said that other officials she discussed should testify themselves.

"My guess is that before this is over, we will be hearing testimony from Ornato, Engle, and Meadows," Mulvaney tweeted, after Hutchinson described Trump physically attacking his Secret Service detail on Jan. 6. "This is explosive stuff." . . .

Mulvaney was referring to deputy White House chief of staff Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, the Secret Service agent Trump allegedly attacked for refusing to take him to the Capitol in his armored car. . . .

"I know her. I don't think she is lying."
David A. Graham, The Atlantic, June 28, 2022:
Some of Trump's defenders will, of course, seek to explain Hutchinson's testimony away and apologize for him. They will contend that if the president wasn't heard explicitly saying, I want a violent mob to topple Congress, harm members, and overturn the election that I lost, he cannot be held responsible for what happened that day. This is nonsense. If you pour gasoline all over a building, tell some people it is essential the building burn, and make sure they're carrying matches and lighters, you are to blame for the arson that follows—especially if you then decline to call the fire department and condone the inferno. What Trump wanted to put up in flames on January 6 was American democracy.

Entire June 28, 2022 Hearing

MSNBC: 'Unhinged' Trump Exposed! Shock Testimony On Agents Grabbed, Warning For 'Every Crime Imaginable'

MSNBC: Why Mary Trump Isn't Shocked By Damning January 6th Testimony

MSNBC: Indictment? Trump Linked To Armed Violence By Star WH Witness

MSNBC: Trump Embraced Armed Rally Attendees; Sought To Join Them In March: Jan. 6 Hearing Witness

CNN: 'Devastating': Woodward Calls Jan. 6 Testimony Trump's 'Political Obituary'

Monday, June 27, 2022

Rudy Giuliani Survives "Assassination Attempt" By "Radical Leftist Terrorist"; Rudy Fears If He Wasn't In Such Good Shape, He Could Have "Hit The Ground And Cracked My Skull ... And Died"; Video Footage Reveals A Pat On The Back By A Passing Grocery Store Employee

UPDATE: "Courageous Giuliani Says Footage of Near-Fatal Pat on the Back Is 'Deceptive'"
The video tape that you see probably is a little deceptive because it just shows a hand on my back. . . . I'm in pretty good shape, I didn't fall down, but I could have. If I fell down, who knows . . . Elderly people die most often from falling down. . . . I can take care of myself, this little punk isn't going to hurt me. The mafia threatened to kill me twice, the FARC wants to cut my throat . . . I'm not allowed to go to Sicily because I'm told they never forget.
I think Rudy means he almost dyed.

Rudy, from before the video was released:
All of a sudden, I feel a shot on my back, like somebody shot me. . . . [I was in] tremendous pain . . . [It felt like] a boulder hit me . . . .
Rudy was also angry Fox was not reporting that such a famous person had been assaulted.
[T]he fact that the mayor of New York, one of the only two living ex-mayors of New York and probably, I'd say modestly, the most famous was assaulted is not even on Fox. Even if Putin got assaulted it would be on Fox.
As someone pointed out, good thing it was not a "mass patting".

* * *

It happened at a ShopRite on Staten Island. I am duty bound, whenever Andrew Giuliani's name is raised, to mention that Michael Cohen, a close associate-in-crime at one point with both Giuliani and Donald Trump, said Andrew Giuliani is such a moron he "makes Eric Trump look like a valedictorian of Harvard". . . . Just think about that.

ALSO: Woman Most Known For Praising Hitler Celebrates Supreme Court's "Historic Victory For White Life"

Saturday, June 25, 2022

"This Is About The Raw Exertion Of Power By Five Right-Wing Judges Who Have Absolute, Near Veto-Proof Authority Over The Rest Of The Country. Today, Millions Of Americans Had Their Right To Bodily Autonomy Stripped Because Of This Radical, Activist Court."

Chris Hayes, All In with Chris Hayes, MSNBC, June 24, 2022:

It is a brutal day for American democracy. For American women, specifically. For all Americans who can become pregnant. For all Americans, really.

A right enchrined in the Constitution, as intimate as any right one could imagine, has been discarded and destroyed by five unelected justices – three of whom were appointed, of course, by the last president, who got about three million fewer votes than his opponent.

In American democracy, it is truly rare to see rights taken away in this fashion. The proverbial moral arc of the universe that bends towards justice, the striving for a more perfect union, the progress of time – to watch these things borne backwards towards a reactionary past as starkly as this, in one moment to the next, it makes you feel physically nauseous. 

Speaking only for myself, as a person who can't become pregnant, as a man, I have not even a tiny sliver of subjective insight into what it would feel like today, if I could. But if you feel a sense of deep mourning and keening rage today, as the court undoes fifty years of precedent by overturning Roe, you are not wrong to feel that way.

This kind of thing, the rolling back of fundamental rights, is not supposed to happen. But it is happening, right now. And it has happened in the past. I think today of a period in which it happened a lot, during Reconstruction, when reactionary forces weaponized racialized terrorism to undo the gains made after the Civil War to create a multi-racial democracy. I think about that period a lot ever since Trump's election, particularly, because it is the most salient example of many other ones, where the forces of reaction in this country had tried to claw back hard-won rights and often times, the strongest ally of those very same forces of reaction, the strongest ally they had was none other than the Supreme Court of the United States. Like with, for example, the Plessey v. Ferguson ruling, the disasterous 1896 ruling establishing the racist "separate but equal" doctrine.

In fact, taken as a whole, over the long arc of American history, there have probably been more instances in the history of the country, where the Supreme Court has sided with those forces of reaction and those looking to strip away fundamental rights than times when the Court, as an institution, fought  toward the enlargement of rights and democratic legitmacy.

It was none other than our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, who said, in his inaugural address, freshly elected to preside over a nation that was coming apart and in response to the Supreme Court's malignant Dred Scott decison, which determined that black people were not eligible for American citizenship, Lincoln said,

[T]he candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon the vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers . . .

That's Lincoln. In other words, if the Court is going to settle all the matters as grave and fundamental as this, then we have given up being a free people who can determine our own lives. Again, particularly when the question at issue there was citizenship. Again, this was specifically in response to the court siding time and time again with the institution of slavery, acting as a backstop to the worst reactionary forces in the country's history. And while, to be clear, slavery and Reconstruction have no actual analog in American politics – they exist in their own plane – it is now clear on this day, if it wasn't clear before, that the Trump Supreme Court is squarely planting its flag in the historical tradition of marauding reaction that has so often characterized that body. 

Here it is, again, assisting the forces of backlash politics. Working to undo what progress society and social movements and democratic politics and other courts have made towards equal protection under the law and the dream of a multi-cultural, multi-racial democracy for all. And much of that dream has occurred, been made real, tangibly, only in the last five or six decades. It's very preciously, delicately young. 

Today, of course, the court annihilated half a century of settled precedent, simply because it had the votes to do so. The decison by far-right justice Sam Alito cited history in a manifestly cherry-picked way that is even inconsistent with the punative historical methodology on display yesterday in their gun case, when the same right-wing court loosened restrictions on who could carry a concealed firearm in public.

But of course none of this is about history or methodology or constitutional orginalism. This is about the raw exertion of power by five right-wing judges who have absolute, near veto-proof authority over the rest of the country. Today, millions of Americans had their right to bodily autonomy stripped because of this radical, activist court.

[News clips from Nevada, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky]

Residents of South Dakota, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky and Arkansas went to bed last night with the fundamental right to control their own bodies and access an abortion and they lost that right this morning. Tonight, they go to bed in a different world because five politicans (let's call them what they are) in robes decided it was so, because they had the votes to do so. And the same will be true for the millions more who live in other so-called trigger states that will automatically ban abortion in the coming days and weeks. To say nothing of states where Republican legislatures are looking to pass new laws to restrict access.

And make no mistake. This court, particularly the logic of the decision in Dobbs, is coming for more than just reproductive rights, whatever they say to the contrary. Civil rights for gay couples, protections for trans folks, contraceptive rights, voting rights – they are all under threat. And I think it is time – well, actually, past time – we see the Trump court for what it is: a genuine, acute threat to our fundamental rights, including the constitution of American democracy itself.

That said, the answer is not hopelessness and despair and nilhilism. Because it is also the case that throughout that same history, many of the court's most infamous decisions, the ones that live in infamy and heap scorn forever more upon the people that wrote them, ultimately have been undone by popular movements of opposition. It exists in a democratic society, still, it is an institution outside of direct democratic control but within a democratic society still. And the court losing its popular legitimacy has posed a true threat to its power in the past. Look at the protests on the streets happening in American cities right now across the country and the polling that shows public opinion against this decison. The court is about to face one of the largest threats to its perceived legitmacy ever in its history. Good.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Un-Hiatus (Briefly)

The U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol held its fifth public hearing on Thursday. Seth Abramson, the author-journalist who knows more about the insurrection and its myriad tangents than anyone not sitting on the Committee, more or less had his mind blown.

Abramson live-tweeted the two-hour hearing, reporting what was being said while also offering context and essential background information. He could hardly believe what he was hearing: "This is insane", "Scary, unhinged stuff", "This story is way wilder than I thought", "This is batsh*t", "This hearing is absolutely astonishing me", and "This conspiracy is so complicated and encompassing". When it was over, he admitted: "I cannot count how many bombshells we just heard. I am practically shell-shocked right now.

This was the Committee's last public hearing until mid-July. It's not known how many hearings will be held next month; there are also reports of additional hearings scheduled for September. The Committee wants to review the "deluge of new evidence" it has recently received, including more than 10 hours of behind-the-scenes footage of Trump and his family and inner circle (including numerous post-election discussions and interviews). The fact of this footage being turned over to the Committee apparently "blindsided" Trump's inner circle ("What the fuck is this?"). (P.S. What's up with Trump wearing a stained shirt that says "President Donald Trump" on it?)

From Abramson's 137-tweet commentary, as the hearing progressed (my emphasis):
9/ Had DOJ falsely declared the 2020 election fraudulent—when Trump's own internal election watchdog, CISA, had declared it the most safe and secure in America’s history—the *Pandora’s Box* it would have opened is beyond anything most Americans can possibly imagine. . . .

20/ [The FBI raid on Jeffrey Clark's home] is the *second* time this week that DOJ has taken an investigative action only at or around the time Congress began discussing an issue in public (the other is the fake-elector plot). Why is DOJ waiting for Congress?

21/ This raid should have happened almost a year and a half ago. The subpoenas for fake electors should have been sent almost a year and a half ago. . . . DOJ has moved at a *glacial* place and it's inexcusable. . . .

31/ We have already had a *number* of HJ6C hearings—all of them explosive—and entire topics have barely been mentioned even a single time: Stop the Steal; the Oath Keepers; Women for America First; the Pentagon; Roger Stone’s fundraising; Trump’s January 2 conference call... . . .

40/ Cheney is noting in *her* opening statement that *much* more evidence is coming in hearings, *and* that the ultimate HJ6C report will have evidence we don't get in the hearings. She's summarizing all Trump's misconduct—even going back to his post-election fundraising scam.

41/ Stunning! Cheney just clearly said the RNC *conspired with Trump* in his "fake-elector" scheme. She is saying that the Republican Party as an *institution* was a coup co-conspirator. No wonder Republicans are trying to destroy her career and crazies are threatening her life. . . .

45/ Now stunning deposition video from former AG Bill Barr saying that if this Trump-Clark plot at DOJ had succeeded, "I'm not sure we would have had a transition [to a Biden administration] at all."

46/ Note that former federal prosecutor Barb McQuade has said on MSNBC that if Rosen had been fired, *100+ top federal prosecutors*—US attorneys and leading AUSAs—were going to resign their jobs immediately in what would've been the most historic revolt by lawyers in US history. . . .

61/ Videos are being shown of a Fox News host, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) , Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Trump falsely telling America there was fraud after they knew DOJ had found *none*.

62/ This is *by far* the most direct accusation the Committee has ever made against sitting members of Congress. It's on, apparently. . . .

70/ Holy cow! First mention of the big December 21—2020—meeting in the Oval Office with Trump's congressional allies. PROOF has talked about this a lot. Greene, Gohmert, Gaetz, Jordan, Hice, Perry, all the insurrectionists were there. Wow, the HJ6C is really going after Congress. . . .

83/ . . . I wonder how many major-media journalists now discussing the HJ6C hearing realize how close we just came to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginni Thomas being directly implicated in a criminal conspiracy on national television. . . .

95/ Folks, I am struggling to keep up. So many bombshells. Trump was like an octopus with his tentacles *directly* in all of this. *Many* GOP members of Congress had their tentacles in this. . . . [The] Department of Justice was under major attack from *so many directions*. . . .

99/ Trump apparently *ordered* the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines—directly ordered Ken Cuccinelli, head of DHS. OMG. This is f*cking terrifying. That would have plunged us into autocracy. DOJ had never told Trump that DHS could seize voting machines. . . .

109/ Clark comes off as a madman in this hearing, quite honestly. So do Trump and even Meadows, not to mention Perry, Eastman, and Klukowski. . . . This hearing is absolutely astonishing me. I mean... my God. . . .

115/ So then-President Donald Trump said to the room, "What do I have to lose?" Absolutely chilling that he even said this. He had no thought of the country or the rule of law whatsoever. Trump was being told how dangerous this would be and how *unqualified Clark was* to be AG.

117/ It appears the only thing that stopped Trump was that Donoghue told Trump, "You’re going to lose your entire Department leadership." Donoghue then described for Trump a *total collapse of the Department of Justice across the entire United States*. Read that sentence twice. . . .

124/ . . . Trump was AWOL on January 6—that is, after he'd incited an armed mob to march on our government.

125/ We're now covering the pardon issue. Brooks asked for a pardon for himself, Gaetz, and many others. Eric Hershmann (Trump attorney) says Gaetz and others believed they might be criminally prosecuted for their role in January 6. They wanted *blanket, massively broad pardons*. [Allan Note: Gaetz was asking for a pardon to cover "from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things". He apparently started begging for a pardon shortly after it was reported that he was under federal investigation for child sex trafficking.]

126/ Holy ****—Brooks wanted a blanket pardon for EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN THE OVAL OFFICE ON DECEMBER 21, 2020. Do people realize how long that list is? Biggs wanted a pardon. Gohmert. Greene. Hice. Perry. The list goes on and on. All believed they might've committed crimes. . . .

130/ Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and others were *fed* rank nonsense by men whose names haven't been said at these hearings—and that nonsense went *immediately* to Trump and almost led to the collapse of American democracy and the birth of a new neo-fascist authoritarian regime.

131/ REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): "I'm still worried that not enough has changed to prevent this from happening again." I agree. . . .

133/ Every time she speaks, Rep. Cheney underscores *how much more evidence* is coming. I appreciate that she does this and I know she is correct. . . .

136/ Thompson says the January 6 mob was Trump's "backup plan." The mob was supposed to enact a violent coup if Trump couldn't enact a "political coup." This is a means of preparing America and the Committee for its July hearings—which will apparently focus on *January 6 itself*.
Later, Abramson tweeted:
Why do I now believe Trump will be indicted? Because if you watched the hearing the House January 6 Committee just conducted, you understand that the current DOJ is *never* going to allow Trump to run the DOJ again. And Trump plans to announce that he's running for POTUS in 2024.

I won't believe it until I see it. And even then . . .

Also: Abramson will be publishing more "breaking news about Ginni Thomas" on Friday:

(PS) I'll simply say that there's no longer any doubt that the January 6 insurrection—which is ongoing—is the most extraordinary *domestic* political event in US history since the Civil War. (I'm treating WWI/WWII as largely overseas events, and the Great Depression as economic.

(PS2) I will also say that—like Adam Kinzinger—I do not at this point fully know how America gets itself out of the hole it is in without some measure of civil unrest. . . .

(PS3) . . . Practicing lawyers better start thinking hard—and daily—about the constitutional crisis we're about to enter because of Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, the 2022 and 2024 elections, and a new crop of GOP insurrectionists.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022


This blog is going on hiatus.

It has been a distraction for quite a while* and I must work, seriously, immersively, unrelentingly, on more important writing.

The trouble with being too casual about a manuscript is that you don't do it. In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. There is no possibility, in me at least, of saying, "I'll do it if I feel like it." One never feels like awaking day after day. In fact, given the smallest excuse, one will not work at all. The rest is nonsense. Perhaps there are people who can work that way, but I cannot. I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not. And I am a little afraid that they are not much good. However, down they go. . . . Sometimes they come out better than at other times and that is all one can say.

John Steinbeck, July 29, 1940
(personal journal kept while writing The Grapes of Wrath)

The first public hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is scheduled for Thursday evening. There will be eight public hearings between now and June 23.

To get you ready, the Brookings Institute has this 104-page guide: "Trump on Trial: The January 6 Committee Hearings and The Question of Criminality". And Just Security has posted an aptly-titled primer: "Primer on the Hearings of the January 6th Select Committee".

The most comprehensive, insightful, and dot-connecting reports on the hearings will be found at Seth Abramson's Proof. His guide to Congress's "most significant hearings in a half-century" is here. I'm confident that any interested people who subscribe for the month of June ($5) will agree it was the best $5 they ever spent. (Or follow him for free on Twitter.) Based on his past reporting, I have high hopes for Seth's work over the next three weeks; he will likely exceed them.

(*: I believe in this and it's been tested by research.)

Friday, June 03, 2022

Buying Things In Texas:
Legal: 2 AR-15s & 1,600+ Rounds Of Ammo — Illegal: 7 Dildos

It's true!
Texas Penal Code
Title 9: Offenses Against Public Order and Decency
Chapter 43: Public Indecency

Sec. 43.21. Definitions. (a) In this subchapter:
(1) "Obscene" means material or a performance that:
(A) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex;

(B) depicts or describes:
(i) patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including sexual intercourse, sodomy, and sexual bestiality; or

(ii) patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation, excretory functions, sadism, masochism, lewd exhibition of the genitals, the male or female genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal, covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state or a device designed and marketed as useful primarily for stimulation of the human genital organs; and
(C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.
(2) "Material" means anything tangible that is capable of being used or adapted to arouse interest, whether through the medium of reading, observation, sound, or in any other manner, but does not include an actual three dimensional obscene device. . . .

(7) "Obscene device" means a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs. . . .
Sec. 43.23. Obscenity. . . .
(f)  A person who possesses six or more obscene devices or identical or similar obscene articles is presumed to possess them with intent to promote the same.

A 2016 protest: Cocks Not Glocks

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Uvalde Police Chief Now In Hiding, Refusing To Answer For His (In)Actions
Note: There Have Been 20 Mass Shootings Since Last Week's Massacre In Texas

Another day has passed and more lies from the cowards running law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas, have been revealed. The attempt to pin the blame for the deaths of 19 children and two adults on an unnamed teacher fell apart today, forcing the police to admit its previous story was utter horseshit. (Thankfully, the name of that innocent teacher was not made public.)

Eight days has passed since police did nothing for nearly 90 minutes in Uvalde and then proceeded to lie about every aspect of that dereliction of duty. And yet . . . No one has lost his job. No one has resigned in shame.

Wednesday's mass shooting at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the 20th mass shooting since last Tuesday's massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde's police chief Pete Arredondo has apparently gone into hiding, refusing to cooperate with investigators. Which likely means that as bad as the facts to date have been, there is probably worse that has yet to be publicly known.