Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Donnie's Bigly Horrendous Week

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
With a freakishly prolific criminal mastermind like Donald Trump, it only follows that he's gonna get hit with double and even triple whammies on the same day. It's inevitable, I guess, considering, as one journalist put it in 1976, Trump is incapable of doing anything "unless there's some moral larceny attached to it."
     By last night after the polls closed in Georgia, I thought I'd had the makings of a full-length article. But, with Donald Trump, one such as I, a political commentator, must constantly scan then aggregate the news just in case one or two fresh scandals slip under the ole radar screen. Many were the times I thought I'd summed up the latest Sauron-class revelations only to find out that right before I published, more moral toxic sludge oozed into the news ecosystem.
    Trump is like a human infestation of roaches- You hear about one scandal, you should know there are more or that the original scandal involves a rabbit hole that literally bores straight into Russia.
    The first bit of bad news that hit Trump as he was taking one of his endless mulligans on the links at Mar a Lago was that his umbrella business, the Trump Organization, was found guilty of all 17 counts of tax fraud. Specifically, the Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp. were found liable for the charges that were largely based on, and despite, Alan Weisselberg's testimony that at times was excruciating to watch as he not only fell on his own sword, but Trump's lawyers helped along by pushing him onto it.
    Of course, there's no jail time involved (unless your name is Alan Weisselberg) and the Trump Organization was never even in any danger of dissolution as New York state law had no mechanism for such a thing. But, since Wall Street banks decided not to do business with Trump over three decades ago and that his longterm relationship with accounting firm Mazar's ended last winter, these nearly dozen and a half guilty findings for tax fraud will make it harder for the Trump Organization to do business or cheat on its taxes in the future.
    While Trump himself nor his family were ever directly under investigation, the 17 guilty counts won't exactly make the pre-existing stench of moral putrefaction any the less objectionable and, if Democrats and other Republicans running for the White House in 2024 are smart, they'll run on it and flog it like Mitt Romney flogs his butler after a bad day.

Midnight Train From Georgia
In last night's runoff election in Georgia, professional organic tackle dummy Herschel Walker met the same fate as almost all of Trump's key endorsees in last month's midterms. 
    Incumbent Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock won by nearly 100,000 votes or nearly three percentage points. Anyone who knows anything about American politics should know that it's difficult to dislodge an incumbent US Senator even if they've served fewer than two years. Warnock won his fourth consecutive election last night, including runoffs, but it never should have been close and should serve as a bellwether that the right wing at least in Georgia is not going anywhere any time soon.
     Yes, Georgia is now officially a swing state, a battleground state, but one that's always on probation. Remember, this is the same state in which Ahmaud Arbery's killers were allowed to roam free after lynching the black jogger in broad daylight for weeks while prosecutors and local police covered for them.
     Trump had essentially pushed and almost stalked Walker to get him to run for Warnock's seat. Like other Republicans in Georgia, they no doubt thought that propping up Walker's carnival sideshow of a campaign would somehow be perceived as post-racial. And it almost worked. 2.8% isn't exactly a landslide and it never should have been that close. It wasn't as if Warnock was evenly matched with a Republican counterpart. He fought against a spousal abuser and frankly an idiot. And he nearly got defeated. To show you how thoroughly disgusted Republicans are with Walker's performance, not one hint of voter fraud has been launched by anyone. Not one whisper.
     But Walker's defeat puts another nail in the coffin of Trump's reputation of being a winner just as the Manhattan court case exposed him and his family for, far from brilliant and successful business people, the liars and tax cheats they truly are. Trump's key endorsees lost Senate, gubernatorial and Secretary of State races all over the country. And Herschel Walker was the last domino to fall.
     Naturally, as with a month ago, the right wing has already begun forming the circular firing squad. MTG is blaming Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell, others are blaming Trump and Walker is blaming the lack of a full moon. And it honestly never occurs to these congenitally clueless conservatives that perhaps their policies are too toxic to swallow. And, once again, Georgia's African American voters turned out in record numbers, again, to soundly reject that.

Do You Know Jack Now?
Despite his generic-sounding name, Jack Smith is about to become the most powerful special prosecutor of all time and, if he isn't already, the most famous attorney in the world. 
    He learned that he had become Merrick Garland's hired gun just as he was wrapping up an assignment at the Hague, or the International Criminal Court, in the Netherlands. As the linked WaPo article testifies, the man's got degrees, honors and experience that most attorneys can only dream of. He has a reputation within the legal community for being a humble, self-effacing man who's hard-working, incorruptible and smart (automatically making him the exact opposite of Trump in every regard) who nonetheless retains a fierce independence toward the job.
   And Smith's new job, at the risk of oversimplifying it, is to investigate Trump's role and degree of responsibility for the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol and associated efforts to overturn the 2020 election. It's unclear how much evidence he'll need to sift through from the January 6 select committee but the DOJ, obviously, has vaster investigatory resources than the J6 committee.
    Sandwiched in between the guilty verdict in Manhattan and Herschel Walker's imminent loss in Georgia was the news that Smith had subpoenaed officials in four battleground states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania. If you're wondering why Georgia's not on the list, that's because Smith is paying Fulton Co. DA Fani Willis a professional courtesy by not stepping all over her own criminal probe in the matter).
    Trump's response to Smith's appointment to investigate him was similar to that of Robert Mueller's own probe years ago- He attacked Smith as "a radical left Democrat" and even Smith's wife over her involvement with a documentary about former First Lady Michelle Obama. In other words, it was the usual playground taunts and tired, oft-repeated insults that even Trump's diehard supporters are weary of.
    Then on Thanksgiving, Smith wrote a short but concise letter to the 11th Circuit that essentially stated that Trump's lawyers won't be getting the home town discount from him. So, why did Smith write the letter and on Thanksgiving, at that? Well, I'll turn the mic over to that August legal publication, Law and Crime:
    "The 11th Circuit’s three-judge panel, comprised of two Trump appointees and a George W. Bush appointee, asked Trump whether a court ever asserted equitable jurisdiction to block the government from reviewing seized records pending review by a special master. Trump’s legal team claimed that the Giuliani case provided a precedent for that.
     In a short but sharp reply on Thursday, special counsel Jack Smith replied that the comparison was inapt."
     In other words, there's a new sheriff in Trumpworld and his name isn't Herschel Walker.
Like Silence of the Lambs
While it may not have involved anything as dramatic as the discovery of an actual human head (that we know of), the news this morning of Trump's lawyers hiring a two person team to look for more classified documents at four of his properties besides Mar a Lago and finding yet more of them was almost reminiscent of that storage facility scene from Silence of the Lambs.
    The team, which was able to work independently of the DOJ although it was invited to tag along, found those classified documents but it wasn't in a super secret, super secure place like the beach umbrella closet at Mar a Lago but in an ordinary storage facility in West Palm Beach (in other words, a much seedier area than the super tony Palm Beach where Mar a Lago is).
    The team's discovery of the storage unit and the classified documents had a peculiar Trump ambience to it (It's Trump, for pete's sake, how could it not?), which is to say amateurish, seedy and homemade. And, lest you think that Russia's favorite bastard son and his shysters were suddenly acting in the spirit of glasnost, guess again. They were ordered to conduct a more thorough and comprehensive search by a judge.
     What was even more surprising than the things found, which comprised in part the aforementioned classified documents, suits, swords and even wrestling belts, was who'd found the West Palm Beach storage facility in the first place- The GSA (.pdf file). The General Service Administration's job in part is to help former presidents transition into private life and procuring storage facilities is part of that function.
    Still, there must be a lot of red faces in the GSA tonight as the revelation came that Trump made them complicit in his violations of the Espionage Act of 1917, the federal law that served as the legal basis for the government securing the search warrant that was executed at Mar a Lago on August 8th.
    Basically, Trump had had a pretty horrendous 24 hours between yesterday and this morning and, knowing Trump, his days are going to get grimmer as, to the schadenfreude of tens of millions of Americans, the indictments and convictions begin piling up, making his third consecutive run for the presidency little more than a laughable pipe dream.
     And it's only Wednesday night.


At December 8, 2022 at 10:25 PM, Anonymous CC said...

"...not one hint of voter fraud has been launched by anyone. Not one whisper."

Don't let that obscure the fact that voter suppression did occur--legally as a result of Georgia's Republicans making it harder for certain demographics to vote without explicitly naming them.

That Warnock still won was partly because enough folks from those demographics pulling out all the stops to come out and vote for him.

The right wing media, of course, has painted this as evidence that voter suppression did not occur.

Now look for Georgia's Republicans to tighten the screws again on voting rights in their state.

At December 8, 2022 at 10:30 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I already predicted as much when I announced the results on Election Night. And, yes, I know voter suppression occurred- It's Georgia, after all. But black voters, properly horrified at Walker, crossed their t's, dotted their i's and came out once again in sufficient numbers to vote, no matter how long they waited in the rain. Black voters saved the Senate for us again.


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