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.

fuck those guys

Here’s a headline from this morning’s Washington Post:

In wake of Bannon indictment, Republicans warn of payback

If you can read that and not wonder ‘What in the pumpkin spice fuck is wrong with these people’ then…well, I don’t know what. Just think about that for a moment. Republicans say they want payback because Steve Bannon…I mean Steve Goddamn Bannon…was indicted for refusing to obey a writ legally issued by a Congressional committee to provide testimony and produce evidence.

Steve Bannon showing up for arraignment this morning.

Payback? Fuck those guys. Payback is a casual way of saying revenge–a retaliatory act taken in response to some alleged/perceived harm or injustice. Republicans apparently feel harmed and aggrieved that the law applies to them as if they were ordinary people. They apparently feel subpoenas only matter if they’re issued by Republicans. They’re distressed to find that a subpoena isn’t a suggestion; it’s an order. If you choose NOT to abide by a subpoena, there’s a penalty.

I mean, it’s right there in the goddamn name. Subpoena–Latin sub, meaning ‘under’ and poena meaning ‘penalty’. A subpoena means you have to show up and/or produce evidence under penalty of law. This has been part of the common law since the 1380s when John Waltham, the Master of the Rolls of the Court of Chancery for Richard II, issued the very first subpoena–a writ compelling witnesses and defendants to show up for trial. We’re talking six and a half centuries of precedent here. If a subpoena was good enough for Richard II, it’s good enough for Steve Goddamn Bannon.

Payback? Fuck those guys. Payback for being expected to follow the law? Payback from Republicans for a guy who was 1) indicted for defrauding 2) Republican donors of millions of dollars 3) in a scam that was purported to help build 4) a border wall supported only by Republicans? They want payback for this guy? A guy who was eventually pardoned for that crime by a Republican president? Payback for a guy who had his Twitter account ganked for publicly calling for beheading FBI Director Christopher Wray and Anthony Fauci? Republicans want payback for a guy who helped foment an insurrection that put many of them personally in danger? An insurrection that included calls to hang the Republican Vice President of the United States? Republicans want payback for that guy? Fuck them. Fuck them in the neck.

Comrade Trump and two of the criminals he’s pardoned.

And fuck the Washington Post too. It’s bad enough Republicans feel outraged and vindictive for having to obey the law, but to have WaPo act like it’s normal is an appalling act of journalistic malpractice. Just because politicians say stupid shit, journalists aren’t obligated to repeat it–to pretend it’s not stupid shit. Stupid shit is stupid and it’s shit. This is not rocket surgery.

Bannon was indicted last week for contempt of Congress, but he wasn’t arrested like an ordinary person. He was given until this morning to surrender himself for arraignment. My guess is he’ll be released on bail. And while that annoys me, it’s the right thing to do. Bannon isn’t likely to flee the country. My guess is he probably wants a trial. He’ll use it as a platform to spread more disinformation.

The thing is, this isn’t just about contempt of Congress; it’s about contempt for the very idea of representative democracy. It’s about contempt for the concept of equal justice under the law. A political party that feels justified in seeking payback for a person like Steve Bannon has abandoned the right to call itself a political party. There’s nothing ‘political’ about it. Politics, after all, is devoted to working things out. Politics is about people with different ideologies and viewpoints finding ways to compromise in an effort to benefit the greater good. Modern Republicans aren’t interested in the greater good.

They’re only interested in ruling.

Fuck those guys.

hypocrites, quacks, and liars

Comrade Trump returned to Iowa yesterday. I considered attending his rally because I’m still a sociologist at heart. I’m curious about the structure of communities and groups. I’d been to one of his early campaign rallies, and I was interested to see if a post-presidential rally would be different. But it turned out I wasn’t interested enough to actually go.

By all accounts, Trump did what he was expected to do–what he’s always done. He lied, he complained, he bragged, he sneered. For an hour and 43 minutes, he repeated his lies about the 2020 election, he complained about how he’s treated, he bragged about his ‘accomplishments’ and he sneered at his detractors. He accused the news of being ‘fake’, he vilified President Uncle Joe, he praised the people who praised him and denigrated people who didn’t. In front of a crowd of a few thousand people, Trump declared, “We don’t have free speech anymore.” In other words, he was the same Comrade Donald Trump he’s always been.

His audience was also the same audience they’ve always been. White, angry, afraid, resentful, hateful, sanctimonious, ignorant. Not necessarily stupid, but deliberately and willfully ignorant. Jeff Kaufmann, the Iowa Republican Party chairman, described Trump as “the middle finger to doing things the same old way, to the fat cats and the corporate welfare that Democrats now support and Republicans supported in the past. He represents an exasperation.” The only way a person can perceive Trump as a champion of ordinary people and Democrats as promoting ‘fat cats and corporate welfare’ is to be deliberately ignorant.

Nothing I’ve seen or read about the rally was surprising. Disappointing, to be sure, but not unexpected. What is most disappointing is that Iowa’s GOP establishment–notably Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley–openly embraced Trump. Even more disappointing, they seemed to acknowledge their support for Trump is based entirely on their desire to remain in power.

Grassley, after getting Trump’s public endorsement, said, “If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart.” Compare that to what he said a few months ago, shortly after the election results were certified.

“The reality is, he lost. He brought over 60 lawsuits and lost all but one of them. He was not able to challenge enough votes to overcome President Biden’s significant margins in key states…. He belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get his way. He encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the hollow husk of a former principled conservative.

There was a time when Grassley was a principled conservative–a politician I disagreed with, but who I believed had integrity. I believed he truly cared about governance. Now Grassley is just a hollow husk of a politician. He’s delighted to accept the endorsement of a man who took “extraordinary and unconstitutional actions” if it helps him get re-elected. What does that tell us? It’s evidence that the GOP has evolved into a party of misinformation, of lies and liars, of corruption and chicanery, a party of grifters and con artists.

I can’t tell you how sad that makes me. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in Iowa voters, or how ashamed I am that this state is represented by hypocrites, quacks and liars.

slay the big bad, return to the prom

There were many days during the Trump Dark Nightmare Interval when I felt like we were living out an episode–hell, an entire season–of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the many messages hard-wired into BtVS was that the Slayer was…wait. Okay, there may be some folks who aren’t familiar with this television show. I mean, BtVS ended in 2003, almost two decades ago, so I suppose I should recap the…no, never mind. You either know about BtVS or you don’t. If you don’t, then I advise you to correct that failure.

Anyway, one of the many things I liked about Buffy is the way the show ended. Instead of…okay, damn it, I guess I do need to explain a little bit about the show. Bear with me a moment. The premise of BtVS is that 1) there are vampires, 2) there is a vampire Slayer, and 3) the Slayer is always female. Got that? Lots of vampires, one female Slayer. Not just vampires, mind you; there are lots of other forces of…well, wait. Here’s the show’s intro:

Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.

So, again, lots of vampires, one Slayer* (yes, there’s an asterisk to appease BtVS fans who know better, but y’all don’t need to fret about it–just accept one Slayer-many vampires). If you do the math, you’ll see the shelf life of a Slayer is generally pretty brief. But when one gets killed, another is ‘chosen’. Don’t ask about the selection process; it doesn’t matter. Just accept it. A Slayer dies, all her power and abilities get transferred to some other poor girl. And yes, they say ‘girl’ because the new Slayer is always a teenager. Again, don’t ask why; it just is what it is. What matters is that this girl/young woman is then stuck with the thankless job of killing vampires. There’s a large pool of ‘potential’ Slayers out in the world–girls and young women all over the globe who are unaware and unsuspecting, but standing in an apparently arbitrary queue to become the next Slayer.

Them’s the rules. Buffy had no choice; some Slayer died, and she got drafted into a career she didn’t really want–and tried to avoid. Who could blame her? One day she’s picking out what to wear to prom, then next she’s supposed to fight demons? And eventually be killed by them? Who’d sign up for that? Wait, here, watch this. It’s a scene in which Buffy learns about a prophesy that she’s going to die.

“I’m sixteen years old,” she says. “I don’t want to die.” Doesn’t matter that another Slayer will be born; she’s sixteen and she’s going to be killed (and don’t forget, there’s a HUGE difference between ‘dying’ and ‘being killed’) just because she won a lottery she hadn’t even bought a ticket for. “They say how he’s gonna kill me? Do you think it’ll hurt?” She just wanted to go the fucking prom like a normal person.

Okay, now back to the point I wanted to make at the beginning. We’re closing in on what we hope is the season finale of the Trump story arc. He’s been sidelined, but he’s still a threat. So are all the lesser marauding TrumpDemons out there in the community, spreading Covid and insurrection. I find myself thinking about the way BtVS ended. Until Buffy, every other television/movie superhero story in the world ended in pretty much the same way: the superhero finds a way to stop the Big Bad (whatever it happens to be) by being a superhero–by using superpowers in an heroic way.

But not Buffy. She stops the Big Bad largely by changing the rules–by ending that “one girl in all the world, a chosen one” business. Buffy stops the Big Bad by giving up the very thing that makes her special. She finds a way to make ALL the potential Slayers into actual Slayers. Teen-aged girls all over the world can now do what Buffy does.

And they need to. Because the Big Bad–in whatever form it takes–can be stopped, but it never dies. It always keeps coming back. Which, obviously, is why Slayers have to keep showing up and kicking its ass. Which is why Buffy’s prom keeps being interrupted.

Slay the Big Bad, return to the prom.

My point–my goofy, sappy, obvious point–is that even though the current Hellmouth has collapsed in on itself, there’s still a LOT of ugly shit in the world and the threat is still active. So it’s up to all of us, to each of us, to step up and be as strong and determined as teen-aged girls. So to speak.

We don’t have to stake anybody (and really, we shouldn’t, even if we want to); but we DO have to put in a little effort. Vote, of course. But also call your members of Congress. Donate (if you can afford it) to candidates who share your values. Attend a demonstration. Buy and wear a t-shirt proclaiming your views. Seriously, wear a t-shirt. Being public about your opinions is not only empowering for you, but also encourages other folks to be public. It’s a way of recognizing and supporting other vampire slayers.

It’s okay to be scared–even by little things, like making a phone call or wearing a t-shirt in public. Ask yourself, “What would Buffy do?” Then put on your t-shirt or prom dress and don’t let your fear make you silent. Go to the prom, dance and have fun, slay a monster or two while the band is on break, and return to the prom. Keep dancing. Make your voice heard.

Make your voice heard.

mission accomplished

Hey, remember that time we won the war in Afghanistan? No, no…not the one when President George W. Bush hitched a ride on a Lockheed S-3 Viking (and yeah, okay, the S-3 was originally an anti-submarine aircraft…but c’mon, there wasn’t a single successful submarine attack against US forces while Bush was POTUS, so there), landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and almost announced ‘mission accomplished.’ That was the time we won the war in Iraq. (I know, I know…Iraq, Afghanistan, what’s the difference, tomato, tomahto, and all that.) That was in May. Of 2003.

Mission almost accomplished.

Yes, there was a banner that said Mission Accomplished, but that was just a goof by some enthusiastic public relations johnny. Bush never said the mission was accomplished. What he actually said was this:

“[M]ajor combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed…. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave.”

So no, not that time. I’m talking about the time we won the war in Afghanistan, which is a whole nother country than Iraq. I’m talking about the time President Bush (yes, the same guy) flew into Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar and actually said the mission was accomplished.

“America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished…. In Afghanistan, forces directed from here from Qatar, and headquartered in Tampa, you delivered decisive blows against the Taliban and against al Qaeda. And now the people of Afghanistan are free.”

That was back in June. Also of 2003. An entire month after that business on the flight deck of the USS Abe Lincoln. That’s right, it took us a whole nother month to win the war in Afghanistan. Because winning a war in Afghanistan is hard.

Okay, mission accomplished now.

But a war doesn’t just end after you’ve given the ‘thumbs up’ sign. No sir, there’s always a lot of tidying up to do. President Bush continued to tidy up Afghanistan and Iraq for another five years. After which President Obama tidied up for eight years. Then President Comrade Trump tidied up for four years.

Well, not quite four years. On Groundhog Day in 2020 (no, I am NOT making that up) Comrade Trump signed an initial peace treaty with the Taliban. It was formalized on 29 February as the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America (you probably know it as the AfBPtAbtIEoAwinrbtUSasaikatTatUSA treaty).

Now, you may be wondering “What exactly did the Trump administration agree to in the AfBPtAbtIEoAwinrbtUSasaikatTatUSA treaty?” That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked. They agreed to:

  • “Withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within fourteen (14) months.”
  • “Up to five thousand (5,000) prisoners of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and up to one thousand (1,000) prisoners of the other side will be released by March 10, 2020.”
  • “[T]he Taliban commits that its released prisoners will be committed to the responsibilities mentioned in this agreement so that they will not pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies…the Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
  • “The United States and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban seek positive relations with each other and expect that the relations between the United States and the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic government as determined by the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations will be positive.”

There it is. The US agreed to 1) pull all of its troops out of Afghanistan by April of 2021 and 2) release 5000 Taliban prisoners, and in exchange the Taliban promised 3) those released prisoners would behave themselves and 4) the Taliban wouldn’t attack the US or let terrorist groups in Afghanistan attack the US. And then both sides agree to 5) be BFFs.

Ain’t diplomacy grand?

Okay, maybe there’s still some tidying up to do. But it’s important that we remember to give credit where it’s due. We can thank George W. Bush for winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we can thank Comrade Trump for signing the peace treaty making the US and the Taliban BFFs. But lawdy, now here comes President Uncle Joe Biden trying to grab all the headlines, when all he did was stand around an win an election.

If that isn’t just like a Democrat, then I don’t know what.

a mook and his money

Back in the Dark Times, when Comrade Trump was the actual president (and lawdy, that was only six months ago; it’s still hard to believe that happened), I made routine recon sweeps through the loopiest of loopy right-wing ‘news’ sites. I felt it was important to know what they were thinking and planning–not because I saw them as the enemy, but because they believed people like me were their enemy. You don’t have to actually be an enemy to be perceived as one, and the success of the Republican Party depends on having lots of enemies.

I still do occasional recon sweeps of loopy right-wing sites, but without the same sense of urgency. Now it’s more of a prophylactic measure. They’re still a threat to democracy, but without Comrade Trump squatting in the Oval Office, they’re less of an imminent threat than they were before.

They’d be more of a threat if Trump 1) wasn’t increasingly losing contact with objective reality, 2) hadn’t convinced so many of them to impale themselves on the pointed stick of Covid, and 3) was actually using his influence to further his conspiratorial-authoritarian agenda instead of to make a quick buck for himself.

As I waded through the muck of loopy right-wing sites this morning, I came across a post in which an ardent Trump supporter said he’d donated more of his hard-earned to Trump’s Save America Leadership PAC. You know, to support the audit in Arizona and reinstall Trump as president and prevent the US from becoming a completely communist pedophile nation. He encouraged others to “donate as much as you can afford or more” so other states could conduct their own audits and prove the extent of the fraud.

There’s a part of me that feels sorry for this mook, because as near as I can tell, Comrade Trump hasn’t donated a single ruble to support any audit in any state. It seems Trump’s PAC has taken in somewhere around US$75 million in the first half of this year–much of it from mooks like this guy. Trump has said he’ll probably use some of the money to fund other election audits, but so far the PAC has only spent the cash on travel, legal costs, staff expenses, and on the PR campaign to raise more money. Most of that $75 million is sitting in the bank.

Do you think this mook has a clue how Trump is actually spending his donation? Probably not. Do you think it would matter if he did know? Probably not. This is why only a part of me feels sorry for him. He’s a willing participant in his delusion. He’s not a victim of propaganda; he made deliberate choices about where to obtain information. If he suffers financially, it’s because he has agreed to it.

In effect, this guy is a financial flagellant. Remember the flagellants? Those 14th century religious zealots who made a public demonstration of their religious fervor by literally whipping themselves? Here, let the Dominican friar Heinrich von Herford describe them:

“Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end. Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the end of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain of wheat or less. Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby. I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how sometimes those bits of metal penetrated the skin so deeply that it took more than two attempts to pull them out.”

This mook whips his checkbook instead of his body. There’s also an excellent chance he’s one of those folks who believe Covid is a hoax, so he’s willfully offering up his health and life as a tribute to Trump as well. This doesn’t mean he deserves to be broke and infected with Covid. It just means that if he becomes broke and Covid positive, he only has himself to blame. Comrade Trump didn’t hand him a whip; he just collects money off the whipping.

This guy deserves our compassion; he doesn’t deserve our sympathy or pity.

did putin just burn trump?

There’s an unoffical mantra in the investigation biz. It applies to everybody who does detective work; it doesn’t matter who you work for, it doesn’t matter if you’re a police detective or a private investigator. Call it the ABC of investigation.

Assume nothing.
Believe nothing.
Check everything.

This mantra especially applies when it comes to information you WANT to believe. And that brings me to this article in The Guardian:

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House

Essentially, the article states The Guardian has come into possession of a reputed Kremlin report of a meeting between Vlad Putin, his spy chiefs, and his senior ministers in January of 2016. At that meeting, they decided to initiate an intelligence operation to help Comrade Trump become POTUS. According to the article, they felt the election ofTrump (who is described in the report as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”) would “definitely lead to the destabilisation of the US’s sociopolitical system.” And basically, that’s what’s happened.

Trump after his private two-hour meeting with Putin

The Guardian article also indicates the leaked Kremlin report suggests Russia has some form of kompromat on Trump. I’ve written about all this stuff before, so I won’t repeat it here. I mention it primarily because The Guardian’s article has resurrected the debate of the so-called Steele Dossier.

It’s important to understand that the Steele Dossier is actually a collection of seventeen memoranda containing raw human intelligence prepared by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 expert on Russian security and counterintelligence issues. Steele had been hired by a research firm called GPS Fusion, which had originally been contracted by the Jeb Bush presidential campaign to do opposition research on Trump. After Bush left the presidential primary race, the Hillary Clinton campaign continued the GPS Fusion investigation. Steele’s assignment was to explore Trump’s business concerns in Russia and the former Soviet republics, some of which involved former Russian intelligence agents and/or members of Russian organized crime.

Essentially, the document reported in The Guardian substantiates the main allegations in the Steele dossier: 1) that there was a concerted, coordinated Russian intelligence operation to promote the Trump campaign and damage the Clinton campaign, 2) that members of the Trump campaign were eager (though probable unwitting) conspirators with the Russians, and 3) Russian intelligence services likely has kompromat on Trump.

Somebody’s happy; somebody isn’t.

I believe that to be true. This is where that ABC of investigation comes into it. Because I want it to be true, I have to be doubly skeptical about it. I have to ask how and why this document came into the hands of the Guardian. I mean, Russian intelligence services just don’t leak documents by accident. IF the document is genuine (and apparently both UK and US intelligence agencies have known about it for months), why would Russia ‘leak’ it now?

Assuming it’s true (remember, assume nothing), it would be leaked to serve Russian state interests–which includes increasing US political and social instability while protecting her own international political priorities. I believe (believe nothing) it’s POSSIBLE that Russia MIGHT be deliberately burning Trump as an intelligence asset. His legal vulnerability and age put him near the ‘sell-by’ date as a useful asset. Burning him COULD be a warning to other still useful assets in the Republican party–MAYBE to cut Trump loose and bury themselves deeper into the body politic where they could still help shape US policy toward Russia. Burning him COULD also make Trump valuable as a flashpoint for insurrection and ongoing social instability. The more precarious Trump’s legal situation becomes, the more desperate he is, the more likely he is to actively encourage his supporters to resort to greater political violence. Even as a burned asset, Trump could prove useful to Russian interests.

This serves Russian interests.

Assume nothing. Believe nothing. Check everything. There’s relatively little we can check about this. The checking will have to be done by others–reporters, investigators, agencies, authorities. We’ll have to assess the value of their checking based on their credibility.

This is how investigation is done. Always mistrust what you want to believe.

the moon is made of semi-soft brie

Because I have chores to do, I decided it was time to snorkel through the murky, fetid waters of FreeRepublic and see how those ‘patriots’ were responding to the Recent Welcome News (the RWN being that New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a grand jury to conduct a criminal investigation of Comrade Trump and the Trump Organization). I expected to see anger, resentment, victim-whinging, and threats (which, to be fair, is what I expect from FreeRepublic regardless of the issue). My expectations were met.

I found a discussion thread entitled The Left is Anticipating President Trump’s Indictment but They Haven’t Thought About What That Means to Everyone. It began with a long introduction involving (and I’m not making this up) the author’s role in helping “a very senior CIA officer” convert to Catholicism. Somehow, that conversion process included a discussion of politics, in which this alleged CIA officer supposedly said this:

“What separates us from the Third World in our politics…are the twin concepts of peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box rather than by military intervention and the unwritten and unspoken principle that victors do not use the police power of the state to punish the vanquished.”

And hey, aside from the slur against the so-called Third World, I agree. I thought perhaps somebody on Freep actually understood that trying to violently overturn the will of the voters is a bad thing. Silly rabbit. He was, in fact, talking about the ‘political persecution’ of Comrade Trump by a vindictive Socialist Biden administration. If Trump is indicted/arrested/tried/incarcerated, he argued, then the next Republican POTUS will necessarily feel obligated to persecute his Democratic predecessor.

The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell [sic] probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.

The reasoning here is fascinating, in a perverse way. I mean, the underlying premise (that Comrade Trump is honest, decent, truthful, patriotic, faithful, loyal, and selfless AND actually won the 2020 election) is so flawed and blatantly false that the entire combustible world has to be turned upside down and inside out in order to support it. It’s like saying, “Since we all agree the moon is made of semi-soft brie, clearly the moon landings must be fake; a brie surface lacks the tensile strength to support the weight of the Apollo Lunar Lander.”

Comrade Trump expressing confidence he won’t be indicted.

The ‘patriots’ of Freep had a variety of responses. Some are certain Trump will never be indicted because he didn’t commit a crime. Some believe Vance lacks the cojones to indict Trump. Many are convinced (or claim to be convinced, or are eager to claim they’re convinced) that a Trump arrest will spark another Civil War. Some seem to believe Democrats want a Civil War because “[T]hey think they can win it…they hold, however tenuously, the presidency, and both houses of Congress (wait, wut?)…the FBI and CIA are aligned with them…the military is going full woke…they control almost all media outlets. And some argue nothing at all will happen if Trump finds himself in an orange jumpsuit, because too many Americans are cowards and the institutions of US democracy are already too corrupt.

Re: “The next Republican president will be under enormous pressure to take a similar Democrat scalp. To be on the safe side and make it hurt, hell probably have to take down several prominent Democrats.”
That is absurd. The GOP will do NOTHING – even if by some miracle we win a national election. The Trump DOJ, the Trump FBI, the Trump Intelligence Community, and the Trump appointed Judges, did NOTHING to stop the rampant criminality of the Democrat Party.

It’s simply impossible for these fuckwits to consider that Trump’s claims of election fraud were so obviously false that even his own appointees in the DOJ, the FBI, the IC, and on the courts couldn’t take them seriously. No, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Community, and even those federal judges appointed by Trump–ALL of them must be completely corrupt, all of them must have turned their backs and stared vacantly into the sun while Democrats openly rigged the election in all 50 states in order to steal the election from Donald Trump. It’s obvious. There’s no other explanation.

Since the moon is made of semi-soft brie, the moon landings must be fake.