Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Day Lady Liberty Almost Got Lynched

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
The attack on our nation's Capitol happened exactly a week ago and that's given us time to gain some objectivity and perspective and revelations over the last seven days informs us that that the riots were more conspiracy than mere conspiracy theory.
    For starters, it appears as if at least three Republican congressmen had worked with one of the organizers of the riot, Ali Alexander. Alexander, who's been banned from Twitter along with his sock puppet "Stop the Steal" account, helpfully told us all who his co-conspirators were in a video released right before he went into hiding when the arrests and federal charges began piling up all over the country.
    Those Republican scum are the Usual Suspects: Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ). Typically, these Profiles in Courage had already begun long ago crawling away from Alexander when their tinpot insurrection began wiggling south. Brooks and Gosar are unavailable for questions regarding Alexander and Biggs denies ever meeting with any rioters.
     Recently, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) posted a 13 minute-long Facebook live video in which she said near the end, almost as an afterthought, that the day before last Wednesday's riots, she'd seen some of the rioters doing what she'd described as 'recon" and, not only that, getting the ten cent tour from some helpful and civic-minded Republican congressmen. They were casing the joint, in other words. Is it really conspiracy-theorizing to suggest that those helpful Republicans-cum-tour guides were Biggs, Brooks and Gosar?
     Still not enough for you? Then keep reading.
    Rep. Ayanna Pressley from my state of Massachusetts is a member of the Squad. As such, she's a target of right wing death threats. So when she'd begun getting them, Pressley had organized drills for her and her staff in the event that her office was ever invaded by such people. That involved a security system consisting of a network of panic buttons that were to alert all her staffers that they were under attack.
     The fact that a sitting United States Congresswoman, especially one of color, has to insist on such security measures is sickening enough. But what follows is even more sickening. When the Capitol was under attack last Wednesday, plainly it wasn't a drill. When Pressley went to hit her panic button, she realized it hit been ripped out. As she went on to tell the Boston Globe, she quickly discovered the entire unit had been ripped out.
     That indicates three things- One, the buttons had obviously been ripped out prior to the riots. Two, Presley was being targeted. Three, whoever had vandalized her office intended for her to be isolated and unable to call for help when the riots started. That's not a conspiracy theory. That's a conspiracy. Period.

Two's the Charm
Donald Trump, as Russia's greatest vice president ever, has achieved many firsts. He's the first to embrace the very worst elements that society has to offer. He has excused the violent actions and rhetoric of right wing terrorists, white supremacists, Klansmen, antisemites, fascists and other factions making up the Republican base.
    Everything he has ever done has been to Russia's benefit, including launching an attack on our nation's Capitol. That also includes walking away from the INF treaty, abandoning the Kurds in northeast Syria and allowing Russian troops to stroll into our hastily-abandoned bases in the area, doing away with the Open Skies agreement, letting the Russians interfere with our 2016 election, refusing to strengthen sanctions on Russia, giving Putin a free pass on putting bounties on the heads of our soldiers... The list goes on.
     And, within the last hour, getting impeached for the second time.
    It was split largely along party lines, as usual, except the split was the most dramatic in American history: 232-197. 10 Republicans joined with the Democrats (still a disappointing number but Republicans are, by and large, unconvicted 5th columnists). The rebel right wingers were Liz Cheney, Anthony Gonzalez, Jamie Herrera-Beutler, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer, Dan Newhouse, Tom Rice, Fred Upton and David Valadao.
     It would be surprising to see the name of Dick Cheney's daughter on that small list were it not for the fact that Cheney had days ago signaled her intention to vote on the article of impeachment. (Tellingly, Cheney is facing blowback from Jim Jordan and her fellow Republicans for signaling her future vote and are demanding she step down from her position as GOP Committee Chair.)
     We learned from a year ago, the first time Trump was impeached, that an impeachment is not a legal proceeding but a political one (Hence the invariable party line votes). What the House did today was have a clearing of the air, a salving of the conscience that recognizes what Trump did on January 6th was not necessarily a crime (although it's hard to see why when parsing the language of Section 3 of the 14th amendment) but it was certainly a violation of his oath of office and of the public trust. It doesn't need to rise to the level of a criminal act because, again, an impeachment is a political process, not a legal one.
     As Speaker Pelosi said on the House floor today, "accountability matters" and it's vitally important that at least one chamber of Congress acknowledges that what Trump did should get him expelled from the Oval Office, even if the Senate doesn't come back from its vacation until Tuesday, the day before Inauguration Day. A second vote will need to be held in the upper chamber to decide whether Trump should forfeit his pension, Secret Service protection (and that of his family) as well as barring him from public office. And all that, plus the second impeachment, getting shunned by his banks and more and more of the establishment GOP, would make him the pariah of the century.
     This was necessary. Because accountability needs to matter. Accountability needs to be great again.


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