quick note on bill barr

It’s important to remember that Bill Barr was Comrade Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General. He replaced Jeff Sessions who, if you’ll recall, was fired–well, asked to resign–by Trump because he properly recused himself from any investigations relating to Russian interference to aid Trump in the 2016 election. Barr was selected because he was more willing to accede to Trump’s questionable legal practices.

Barr, in videotaped testimony, can be heard referring to Trump’s refusal to accept the 2020 election results as “rubbish.” He also called it “nonsense” and “garbage.” He called it “crazy” and “annoying” and “idiotic” and “stupid.” He called it “bullshit.” He even suggested Trump may have been “detached from reality.” But he never called it “criminal.”

Criminal is exactly what it was. Not the lying, but the financial profiting from the lie. Barr has been around the block long enough to know that’s fraud. Fraud is “the deliberate misrepresentation of fact for the purpose of depriving someone of a valuable possession.”

The Attorney General of the United States was essentially witnessing a crime in progress. He didn’t report it, he didn’t act on it, he just tried to dodge any responsibility for the mess by resigning his job. Bill Barr doesn’t get any credit now for speaking out now. He failed to do his job, he failed to do his duty, the most senior law enforcement officer in the nation failed to perform the most basic function of law enforcement.

Fuck him in the neck.

liz cheney will get you

I confess to having high hopes and low expectations from the January 6th Insurrection Committee hearings. I fully expected to be underwhelmed by last week’s prime time hearing and was surprised that it was as well orchestrated and effective as it was. But I seriously doubted this morning’s hearing would be as organized and productive.

I was wrong.

This committee is different. They’re actually focused and disciplined. In most congressional hearings, the members use the time relegated for questions to make political statements, score political points, and create sound bites in the hope of getting a moment on the evening news. These committee members have somehow found the strength of purpose to sit back, shut the fuck up, and let one or two people run the show.

This means we’re getting a coherent narrative, one that everybody on the committee agrees with and supports. It’s also a compelling narrative, and they’re presenting it in a way that trial attorneys will appreciate. At the beginning of each hearing so far, they said, “This is what the evidence will show.” Then they’re using each hearing to show individual elements of the evidence. And at the end, they repeat, “Here’s what the evidence we just presented means.” Structurally, the hearings have been beautiful.

I did NOT expect to learn anything new from the hearings. But again, I was wrong. I learned that Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry had been in touch with the White House after the insurrection to seek a presidential pardon, and that “multiple other Republicans” had done the same. Multiple. Now I want to know which ones–and I think there’s a good chance the hearings will produce the names.

I learned Jared Kushner, the lizard-brained son-in-law of Comrade Trump, dismissed threats by White House lawyers and DOJ legal staff to resign if Trump followed through on various blatantly illegal/unconstitutional schemes. He said the most Jared Kushner thing ever:

“My interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done, and I know that he was always, him and the team, were always saying ‘Oh we are going to resign’. So, I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you.”

That’s right. He was too busy arranging pardons–around 120 pardons in the post-election period–many of them for Trump cronies who were involved in crimes aiding Trump. So busy he assumed resignation threats by multiple legal staff from multiple agencies claiming Trump was knowingly advocating criminal acts was just ‘whining’. Lawdy.

Trump should remember that Liz Cheney’s dad once shot a friend in the face with a shotgun, and the only person who scares Dick Cheney is Liz.

But the most astonishing thing I learned was this: Liz Cheney is Keyser Söze. If you’ll remember from the movie, Keyser Söze was threatened by a Hungarian drug gang, told to get out of the drug business. When he refused, they took Söze’s family and threatened to kill them unless he gave up his drug business. To prove their point, they killed one of his children. Instead of giving in, Söze then shoots and kills his own family and he kills all the Hungarians holding them–except one. Then…

“He lets the last Hungarian go. He waits until his wife and kids are in the ground and then he goes after the rest of the mob. He kills their kids, he kills their wives, he kills their parents and their parents’ friends. He burns down the houses they live in and the stores they work in, he kills people that owe them money.”

Liz Cheney was threatened by the GOP hierarchy, told not to cooperate with the 1/6 Committee. When she refused, she was stripped of her committee assignments and her leadership position. When she stood her ground, refusing to go along with Trump’s Big Lie, she was booed on the House floor by some of her colleagues.

Big mistake. She’s almost certainly burned her political career to the ground, and now she’s in the process of hunting down the insurrection wing of the Republican Party, the ones who forced her to make the choice. Donald Trump probably twitches when he hears her name. She’s on her way to becoming a myth, a spook story that Republicans tell their kids at night, “Rat on your pop, and Liz Cheney will get you.”

loathsome, feculent

The good news? Ketanji Brown Jackson will be sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. Light the fireworks, cue the herald angels singing, hand out tissues for the tears of joy.

Then remember that loathsome, feculent pillocks like Judge Trevor N. McFadden are also sitting on Federal courts. Before he became a judge, McFadden specialized in defending white collar criminals–including people accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (which prohibits people and businesses from bribing foreign officials) and money laundering. There’s nothing wrong with that; every person accused of a crime deserves to be represented by a good attorney. The problem, of course, is that people and entities who can afford to bribe foreign officials and need to launder money can also afford really good attorneys while people caught shoplifting Oreo cookies generally can’t.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden

But that’s not what makes Judge McFadden a loathsome, feculent pillock. Neither is the fact that he was appointed to the court by Comrade Trump (also a loathsome, feculent pillock). No, what makes him a loathsome, feculent pillock is that as soon as he put his pale ass on the bench, he began doing exactly what Trump expected him to do: protect Trump.

For example, back in 2019 Trump, pissed off because Congress wasn’t giving him the money he wanted to build his stupid wall on the border of Mexico, decided to divert US$6 billion from military construction and from counter-drug operations and piss it away on his stupid wall. Congress sued to stop him. McFadden, being loathsome and feculent, dismissed the suit, saying Congress lacked standing to sue POTUS (although a couple of years earlier, when the GOP controlled Congress and Obama was POTUS, the court agreed Congress DID have standing to sue POTUS…go figure).

Another example: when the House Ways and Means Committee tried to get Trump’s tax returns as part of his first impeachment, McFadden (loathsome and feculent) slow-walked the matter, making it impossible to get the tax information in time to press the impeachment.

But wait, there’s more. When Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian “internet entrepreneur” sued BuzzFeed News for libel after they published his name in connection with the investigation into Comrade Trump’s Russian connections, feculent and loathsome Judge McFadden was assigned to rule on a subpoena seeking information. The defendant asked McFadden to recuse himself, since 1) he was appointed by Trump, 2) he’d donated money to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and 3) he’d been a volunteer on Trump’s presidential transition team. McFadden refused to recuse himself, saying there was no reason “to question my impartiality.”

But wait again, there’s still more. Despite expressing his belief that the January 6th Insurrectionists were being treated more harshly than the rioters in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the loathsome and feculent McFadden has been assigned to some of the cases resulting from the insurrection. Yesterday, McFadden became the only judge to issue an outright acquittal of one of the Insurrectionists. Matthew Martin argued that he believed the Capitol police had allowed him into the Capitol, so didn’t realize he was trespassing. Prosecutors argued that the broken windows and blaring alarms should have given Martin a hint. McFadden said, “I do think the defendant reasonably believed the officers allowed him into the Capitol.”

But wait one more time, because Jesus suffering fuck, there’s still more. One of the Insurrectionists, Jenny Cudd, who was indicted on five federal counts, including one felony, had requested she be allowed to leave the jurisdiction in order to attend a company retreat at a resort in Mexico. McFadden allowed her to go. Cudd eventually entered a plea agreement–she would plead guilty to one misdemeanor (entering and remaining in a restricted building) and the other charges (including the felony count, which was punishable by up to 20 years in prison) would be dropped. The misdemeanor is punishable by a year in jail and a US$5000 fine. Although Cudd has said she was proud of her part in the insurrection, McFadden loathsomely and feculently sentenced her to two months probation.

But lawdy, wait one more fucking time because yeah, there’s more. One condition of Cudd’s probation forbade her to own or possess any “firearm, ammunition, destructive device, or dangerous weapon.” That’s a common probation condition. Today, Judge McFadden (feculent, loathsome) restored Jenny Cudd’s right to possess firearms.

So yes, we should absolutely celebrate soon-to-be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. And we should keep celebrating her, because she deserves it and we deserve a celebration too. But let’s not get too starry-eyed; let’s not forget that Comrade Trump (with the help of a loathsome, feculent Republican Congress) installed a metric shit-ton of Judge McFaddens throughout the Federal Court system. And they’ll continue to stink up the judiciary for years.

jesus suffering fuck, this guy, I declare

I’m sitting here this morning, minding my own business, right? Drinking my coffee and noshing on some sort of unpronounceable chocolate cookie I bought at the Grand European Market (yes, that’s actually its name), reading the news, getting pestered by the cat, just like every morning. Then I come across this bullshit:

This shouldn’t surprise me. I mean, Comrade Trump–he’s an ignorant, lying sack of shit. Ain’t nobody surprised by that. And that bit about NATO dues? That’s probably just an example of his ignorance. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Trump actually believes NATO nations pay ‘dues’. Like it’s a membership at one of his golf clubs. We’re probably lucky he’s not complaining about NATO not paying green fees.

But “There would be no NATO if I didn’t act strongly and swiftly“? Fuck me with a chainsaw. This is the guy who wanted to withdraw the US from NATO, something he’d even talked about during his 2016 presidential campaign. That talk didn’t stop after his election. In fact, both the House of Representatives and the Senate were alarmed enough that they passed bills that would require Congressional approval for the US to withdraw from NATO. For him to claim credit for the continued existence of NATO is utter bullshit.

What a fucking idjit.

But this is where the real delusional thinking comes into it: “[I]t was me that got Ukraine the very effective anti-tank busters (Javelins)“. We all know Trump tried to withhold those Javelins unless Ukraine’s recently elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, cobbled together some sort of dirt on Joe Biden (or his son). We know he actually froze the military support for Ukraine, and it remained frozen until a Federal whistleblower spoke out and basically forced Trump to release the funds and gear. This was money and weaponry Congress had approved, and Trump illegally froze it in order to cheat on a coming election. I mean, c’mon–the motherfucker was impeached for trying to pull that shit. You’d think Trump would remember that. You’d think Republicans would remember it.

But no.

Happily, Ukraine got its Javelins (sadly, they need to use them). Also happily, Ukrainians have given us a handy phrase to respond to bullshit like Comrade Trump’s statement. Іди на хуй. Go fuck yourself.

this ukraine business

Okay, Ukraine and this invasion business. From what I can tell, it’s a result of three things: 1) Putin’s ego, 2) fear of democracy, and 3) water. I know a little bit about the region and its history, but I’m not by any stretch of the imagination even remotely expert on the affairs of Russia and Ukraine.

That said, I’ve been mostly skeptical about the notion of Russia invading Ukraine–not because I think Putin/Russia (and at this point in time, those two are basically conjoined twins) respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity. I’ve been skeptical because I couldn’t figure out what Russia would get out of an invasion that would be worth the price.

Putin’s not stupid. Sure, he’s got a massive ego, and he may long for the days when Russia was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics–when Russia was feared as a super power. But I can’t see him trying to reconquer all the former Soviet Republics just to recreate those days. I sorta kinda figured threatening an invasion would get him the global attention he thinks Russia deserves. I thought Putin would feel the threat would be enough to show the world that Russia is still a major player on the stage of world affairs. I thought a few weeks of saber-rattling would do the trick.

Who got spanked?

Apparently not. So back to the original question: what’s in it for Russia? I suspect Putin, like all tyrants, has a genuine fear of representational democracy. That’s one reason Russia helped Comrade Trump in the 2016 election. I mean, yeah, having an ignorant, egocentric, mendacious, greed-head president like Trump would be a boon to Russia, but the horrible genius of their election interference was that just making him a viable candidate was enough to weaken the entire electoral process. Helping Trump was the equivalent of injecting poison into a healthy body. It didn’t kill us (yet), but it’s compromised our immune system.

For Putin, having former Soviet Republics like Ukraine thrive under democracy is a threat. Don’t forget, Putin earlier tried to gank Ukraine’s democracy through political interference. Back in 2004 Russia supported Viktor Yanukovych when he ran for president of Ukraine. Like Trump, Yanukovish won. However, the election interference was so blatant that the Ukraine Supreme Court ordered a run-off election, which Yanukovych lost. But they tried again in 2010, when Yanukovich ran against Yulia Tymoshenko. That time, Yanukovich won.

Paul Manafort (the guy wearing handcuffs)

How did he win? He hired an American political operative as his campaign manager. Paul Manafort. In 2018, as part of a plea agreement (on charges of eight counts of tax and bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and witness tampering) Manafort admitted he’d conducted a media campaign against Tymoshenko, accusing her of anti-Semitism and corruption in order to undermine her support. Tymoshenko was eventually imprisoned. (This is where I note that Manafort was originally Comrade Trump’s campaign manager, and the Trump campaign is probably best remembered for this slogan related to Hilary Clinton: Lock her up. This is also where I note that Trump, after he lost the 2020 election, gave Manafort a full pardon for his crimes–which also dismissed the criminal forfeiture proceedings involving Manafort’s 10-bedroom, 6-bath US$11 million home at Bridgehampton, Long Island, his apartment in New York’s Chinatown, and his townhouse in Brooklyn. Who says crime doesn’t pay?)

After his election, Yanukovich implemented a number of Russia-friendly policies that were so unpopular the Ukrainian people rose up against him. Yanukovich fled to Russia, where he now lives. Ukraine now has a fairly and democratically elected president. And that has to both piss off and terrify Putin. So yeah, good reason to invade, right there.

But there’s also the water issue. Until a couple of days ago, I was unaware that Crimea (a part of Ukraine which Russia invaded and seized in 2014) was dependent on the North Crimean canal for irrigation and feedstock water. (Hell, I wasn’t even aware that the North Crimean canal even existed.) Not long after Russia seized Crimea, the government of Ukraine began to reduce and limit the flow of water to Crimea. Between that and a long period of drought, crops on which Russia relies have begun to fail.

North Crimean Canal

So this is what we’ve got. Russia needs water, Ukraine has control of that water. Russia fears democracy, Ukraine is pro-democracy. Putin is an egomaniac wanting to restore the legacy of Mother Russia, Ukraine was part of that legacy. So yeah, an invasion isn’t all that surprising.

But here’s the problem: what do we do about it?

I have no idea. Sanctions against Russia and Russian oligarchs, obviously. Really harsh sanctions. Military and intelligence support for Ukraine, also obviously. Troops? I’d hate to see us in a shooting war with Russia; their military is second rate at best, but if you’re killed by a second rate military, you’re still dead.

I’m just glad we have President Uncle Joe running this show. If Comrade Trump were in charge, there’d be massive gobs of extra shit in this shitshow.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Yeah, NATO. I wasn’t ignoring the whole NATO thing. I just think Putin’s issue with NATO is a subset of his fear of democracy.

finally comrade trump is fucked…probably

For decades, this guy has managed to dodge and delay any sort of accountability for most of the awful things he’s done. He didn’t escape responsibility because he was clever; he did it because he inherited a buttload of money, which allowed him to retain very expensive, highly skilled lawyers and accountants.

Trump’s entire reputation as a deal-maker and businessman was built on his access to those people. He was able to walk into meetings, make demands, then wander off while his legal-financial team worked out the details of the actual deal. Trump would then take credit for his team’s success (or blame them for the deal’s failure). But even the best lawyers and accountants couldn’t prevent Trump from fucking things up.

I mean, he had six (6!) corporate bankruptcies, and each time his lawyers/accountants were able to allow Trump to slide out from under his legitimate debts and remain in business. The guy bankrupted his own casinos, for fuck’s sake. How do you lose money running a casino? He’s been involved in numerous (at least 3500 lawsuits in the past 30 years) contract disputes (mostly for failure to pay his bills), tax cases, defamation claims, and allegations of sexual harassment. And, again, in almost all of those cases his lawyers/accountants protected Trump from serious criminal or financial harm.

But Trump being Trump, he also tended to stiff many of his lawyers out of their fees. Over time, that’s made it harder for him to hire effective counsel. Now, he finds himself scrabbling to find a good lawyer. After well-known litigator Marc Kasowitz withdrew his services last September, Trump engaged lawyer Alina Habba whose office is near his Bedminster, NJ golf club and whose biggest prior client was a parking garage company. (By the way, that doesn’t mean she’s not a good lawyer; it just means top tier lawyers have stopped taking Trump’s calls).

And now his accountants are taking a hike. A few days ago they completely severed their relationship with Trump and the Trump Organization. Looking beyond the delicate legal phrasing, his accountants basically said 1) they believe Trump has been lying about his assets and debts over the last decade, 2) they’ve seen/heard the evidence held by the Attorney General of New York–and they believe it, 3) Trump ought to cowboy up and inform his creditors of all this, and 4) they’re out the door, goodbye, good luck, you’re on your own.

Trump is going to face the same problem with accountants as he has with lawyers. No big hat accounting firm is going to pick up when he calls them. That’s a HUGE problem for him, because he owes a metric shit-ton of cash (at least US$400 million and up to about $1.1 billion) to various banks and lending institutions. He and his organization were able to borrow all that money based on the information Trump had provided to his accountants. Now that his accountants have pissed in his soup, it’s unlikely those banks will refinance his loans. It’s possible some of them will call in their loans.

If that’s not enough, a couple of days ago a NY judge agreed with the Attorney General of NY that Trump (and three of his feral children) must submit themselves for a deposition within 21 days. As always, he’s trying to delay that…and he may succeed for a while. But it’s pretty clear he’ll eventually be testifying under oath in a civil case. That’s a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, because Trump can’t/won’t stop lying. Lying under oath is a crime. I can’t see any situation in which Donald Trump can talk about his finances and not lie. Hell, I can’t imagine a situation in which Trump would talk about anything at all without lying.

Second, probably the only way Trump can avoid lying in a deposition is to invoke his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. But that will also bite him on the ass. In a criminal case, a jury isn’t allowed to draw any adverse inference about a defendant who takes the 5th Amendment. In a civil case, a jury CAN assume that a defendant who takes the 5th is hiding something.

That’s just his civil legal problems. Trump is also facing a variety of criminal charges in at least two jurisdictions.

There’s a tsunami of trouble coming for Comrade Trump, and the legal breakwater that’s protected him for so long has eroded. The guy is fucked. He’s fucked. Totally and comprehensively fucked.

Probably.

anocracy

The CIA (yes, that CIA) sucks in massive amounts of data and information from a whole galaxy of sources. One of those sources, when it comes to assessing the stability of a nation, is the Center for Systemic Peace. You’re probably asking, “Greg, old sock, just what the hell is this Center for Systemic Peace…and is that really it’s actual, no-shit name?”

Yes, that really is its name. The CSP was founded in 1997 to conduct “research and quantitative analysis in many issue areas related to the fundamental problems of violence in both human relations and societal-systemic development processes.” Basically, they evaluate a nation’s stability by looking at stuff–like the spectrum of social conflict, the methods of governance, and the various responses of the population. The CSP does this for just about every nation state that has a population of over half a million. Also, stop calling me ‘old sock’.

One of the CSP’s metrics for national stability is what they call a ‘polity score’. It measures ‘regime authority’ on a 21-pont scale with a zero point at the center: -10 being an hereditary monarchy, +10 is a consolidated democracy. They tend clump nations into three groups: 1) autocracies (-10 to -6), anocracies (-5 to +5), and democracies (+6 to +10).

Now I suspect you’re asking, “Greg, old sock, what the fuck is an anocracy?” Good question. At the high end (+5) an anocracy is a form of government that’s democratic but has autocratic features; at the low end (-5) it’s an autocratic government with some democratic features.

Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First, the CIA uses the CSP as a tool for understanding how fucked up nations are. They have their own reasons for doing this, of course, some of which are almost certainly nefarious, but the CSP metrics are universally seen as pretty damned reliable. The second reason I’m telling you this is because the US, for most or our history, has been either a +9 or a +10. For a long time, the US was the world’s longest continuing democracy.

This is insurgency

Now we’re not. According to the CSP, under the Comrade Trump administration the polity score of the US dropped to a +5, which drags us right out of the democracy zone and dumps us in with the anocracies. How’d that happen? You can find the CSP’s abbreviated political history of the US here.

It’s sad that the US is now just a high-functioning, democracy-leaning anocracy. What makes it all very much worse, though, is that anocracies are much more susceptible to insurgencies, and nations that with active insurgencies are more likely to slide into an actual civil war. And we’re seeing overt signs of a growing insurgency movement in the US.

Depending on which poll you look at, somewhere between 17-38% of folks who identify strongly as Republicans believe the use of violence to ‘restore America’ is acceptable or necessary. Every state in the Union has at least one civilian armed militia movement. Some militia groups are national–the Oathkeepers, the III Percenters, the Proud Boys, etc. Members (and supporters) of militia groups have engaged in anti-government ranging from the insurrection on 1/6/20, to a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan and put her on ‘trial’, to threatening the lives of local election or school board official. These aren’t just crimes; they’re insurgent actions.

The III Percenters are insurgents

Again, the US is still at the high end of anocracies. We can claw our way back into the realm of full democracies. But there’s no guarantee we will. At this point, the Republican Party is effectively acting as the political wing of an inchoate collective of insurgent groups, all of whom want to install some form of right-wing authoritarian government. Since Senators Sinema and Manchin have given the GOP the power they need to suppress voting, the odds of the US sinking lower on the polity scale have increased.

The Oathkeepers are insurgents

It’s hard for me to even say this–mainly because this should be unthinkable–but we may be witnessing a cascade of events that will be the end of representative democracy in the United States. And because it should be unthinkable, most of the people in the US aren’t thinking about it at all. Most of us are just assuming everything will go on just about as it always has. And maybe it will. But I’m not confident about it. I keep thinking of the closing stanza of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

ADDENDUM (1/28): It appears that Uncle Joe’s move to the Oval Office has allowed the US to claw its way up from a 5 on the Polity Scale to an 8. We are now a middling, shaky democracy. Yay?

devil’s scorecard

The Devil appears to Comrade Donald Trump the morning after the 2016 election. He says, “Comrade, I have three suggestions for you as president. First, you should undermine and destroy representative democracy. Second, you should downplay the severity of a deadly epidemic. Third, you should stop wearing lifts in your shoes.” Trump asks, “Why should I stop wearing lifts in my shoes?” The Devil grins. “Yeah, I figured you wouldn’t object to the first two.”

I’ve been on something of a social media holiday the last week or two. I haven’t been actively avoiding it; I’ve just spent less time fiddling with social media and engaging in or responding to it. But this morning I read some reporting about Comrade Trump and found myself imagining Trump in conversation with the devil.

The reporting this morning suggests Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who has been investigating whether the Trump Organization deliberately misled lenders and/or tax authorities about the value of its properties, is going to indict Trump personally for racketeering. It may be true. If so, it will be a tiny (but very welcome) step toward holding Trump accountable for some small fraction of the harm he’s done to the United States.

It’s difficult to describe…hell, it’s difficult to even comprehend…the scope of Trump’s corrosive effect on US society. His casual, reflexive lying about almost anything has become a common aspect of GOP political rhetoric. His nonchalant petty corruption–using the office of POTUS to enrich himself–has tarnished the office itself; perhaps not beyond repair, but the Trump stink lingers. His vindictiveness against anybody or anything he believes has slighted him has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in governance. His indifference to public health has not only contributed to the death of more than 800,000 US citizens, but sparked an unhinged conspiratorial view of the medical profession. His unthinking automatic racism has fueled racial violence against almost every racial, ethnic, and religious minority group in the country. His cheap, performative imitation of patriotism has degraded the national capacity to be truly proud of the nation. His perpetual insecurity has turned conservatism into a whiny, grievance-oriented, resentful group of fear-biters.

Hold this feculent sumbitch accountable.

Combine all that with Trump’s deliberate, willful undermining of the norms of representative democracy, and you end up with a bitterly divided nation in which a third of the population is willing–even eager–to scrap nearly 250 years of semi-cooperative governance and replace it with an authoritarian regime grounded in white resentment and free-floating rage.

I don’t know that indicting–and, it’s to be hoped, convicting–Trump for ordinary crimes like racketeering or tax evasion (rather than the political crimes he’s certainly committed) is the most effective method for undoing the damage he’s done. But it’s a good start.

That assumes the reporting is accurate. Which reminds me–Trump’s manipulation of the news media had warped the very notion of responsible journalism. One more black mark on his Devil’s scorecard.