blood in the streets

“If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information…there’ll be riots in the street.”

That was Senator Lindsey Olin Graham of South Carolina. But I’ve been seeing and hearing that sort of idiotic bullshit a lot lately–on the news and in real life. There was a guy at the gym last week–a living caricature of a Trump supporter; overweight and angry, loud and obnoxious–saying much the same thing. He said he was so angry he was “about ready to take up arms.” About ready. Not actually ready to take up arms, but just about ready.

Putting aside the fact that this guy would have probably collapsed in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street, there’s the question of whom he’d take up arms against. In his rant, he mentioned Uncle Joe Biden, Antifa, the DeepStateFBI (yes, it was all one word) and communists. Maybe he meant to take up arms against all of them? Or maybe he thinks they’re all the same group? I don’t know. It was an unhinged, unfocused, unorganized rant.

Is this blood-in-the-streets scenario something we really need to fret about? Well, yes and no. I mean, the 1/6 insurrection is evidence that there are a lot of angry Trumpistas who are willing to use violence to get their way. So yeah, that’s a real concern.

But that anger had focus. Misdirected focus built on lies, true–but there was a focal point. The Capitol Building. Comrade Trump pointed them at the Capitol. It’s entirely possible (assuming Trump gets indicted–and I think he will–and goes to trial–and I’m not so sure about that) that a Trumpista mob would assault the courthouse.

He could riot for maybe half a street.

But as for widespread rioting in the streets? Naw, probably not. Sure, there’ll be pro-Trump protests and some of those will likely turn violent. But the problem with the sort of conspiratorial free-floating rage we see from so many Trumpistas is that it’s undirected. Like the fuckwit at the gym, they’re intensely angry at some vague, nebulous Biden/Antifa/DeepState/commie Bogeyman that doesn’t exist. It’s easy to sustain that sort of anger, but hard to sustain any sort of direct action against vapor. You can’t punch smoke.

But you can punch fascists. If holding Trump accountable for his crimes leads to violence in the streets, then so be it. I’d much rather it didn’t happen, but if it does then it does. It’s a price we may have to pay to resist fascism.

EDITORIAL NOTES: 1) I don’t advocate punching anybody, even if they’re fascists. But if you find yourself on the street and there’s a fascist in front of you doing or saying fascist stuff, DO NOT punch him (it’ll almost certainly be a guy) in the head; heads are mostly bone and you could hurt your hand. Punch him someplace soft. 2) When I described the Trumpista at the gym as being “overweight and angry” and said he’d likely collapse “in a puddle of his own urine if he’d had to run across the street,” it wasn’t to denigrate fat people. There are fat people who are in really good shape. I’m just describing those armchair warriors who sit around drinking cheap-ass beer and eating bags of Doritos and fantasize about being tough. I probably am denigrating cheap-ass beer, though. Sue me.

the price of being a mook

And by the way, no. No, there’s no “rich debate about whether or not a document is declassified if a president has decided but not communicated it outside of his own head.” Jesus suffering fuck, people. I mean, just listen to yourselves.

Okay, now as I was saying…wait, where was I?

Right, I hadn’t even started yet. Okay, as I was about to say, it’s a job of work being a Trump martyr. I’m thinking about this mook Ricky Shiffer. You know, the MAGA fuckwit who decided to start the War Against the Deep State by attacking an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. First, you’re never going to make it to the Martyr Hall of Fame if your name is Ricky. Ricky is a fine name for a second baseman on a minor league team or the regional manager for a company that sells convenience store snack cakes. But not for a martyr. Rick would have been okay. Richard would work. But Ricky? Never gonna happen.

Second, Cincinnati? It’s a fine city, no mistake, with wonderful architecture, some very fine sports teams, the home of a truly great ice cream (Graeter’s black raspberry chocolate chip is exquisite) and a rich history of riverboats exporting pork products. But it’s not on the list of Best Places to Take the Fight to the Deep State. Cincinnati is where you’d go if you want to start a War on Decent Chili (oh lawdy, they do terrible things to chili there), but if you’re going to take on the FBI, then really, look elsewhere.

Third, it’s really hard to be a martyr for Comrade Trump. I mean really, really, REALLY hard. It’s hard on account of if you’re an ordinary white working stiff with a history of making racist and violence statements and you commit a crime for Trump, you’ll be almost immediately written off BY OTHER MAGA FUCKWITS as a Deep State stooge.

Ricky Shiffer said all the right MAGA things, just like MAGA Republicans in Congress. He said the FBI was a threat, they were the enemy of the people, they were corrupt thugs, the people have to fight back, the FBI must be destroyed. He echoed the GOP establishment. Only he apparently actually believed what they were saying. He followed through. Not effectively, but he acted on what almost every Republican was saying. And now?

Ricky Shiffer — not a martyr, just a mook.

Now Ricky Shiffer is considered a ‘crisis actor’. Now his attack on the FBI is seen as a false flag incident. Ricky Shiffer died stupidly, in a corn field, wearing body armor, thinking he would be a martyr, an example to his fellow ‘patriots’. Now his fellow ‘patriots’ are accusing him of being Antifa. Here’s a smattering of comments from FreeRepublic:

I suspect this is an FBI operation given the blow-back from a lot of people on both sides with the raid on Trump’s home. — by CFW

FBI asset, BLM, or Antifa? — by mass55th (“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~~ John Wayne )

This isn’t a coincidence. This was timed for today. We’re going to see these RAT antics every day from now until election day. — by FlingWingFlyer (The House is supposed to represent the people, not the friggin’ Federal government. )

Right, this doesn’t pass the smell test. — by pacificus

Almost certainly, they murdered the CI/patsy they paid to do it. Until evidence to the contrary turns up, I will assume ALL attacks on the FBI or any other Federal agency are 100% false flag attacks. — by backwoods-engineer (Hold on, y’all, 2022 is going to be a ride you won’t soon forget!)

They used the stooge, then killed him for his efforts. — by TheElectionWasStolen

Stevie Wonder could have seen that a false flag was incoming. — by Cowgirl of Justice

FalseFlag — by joma89 (Buy weapons and ammo, folks, and have the will to use them.)

Odds are, Ricky Shiffer won’t be the last mook to take up arms for the delusional cause of Comrade Trump. Violent, threatening rhetoric is a staple of the GOP diet and Trump’s followers are eating it up as avidly as ducks devouring cracked corn. I’m not convinced there’ll be a January 6th Only With Guns, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened. And if/when it does, the mooks who join in will be characterized by the mooks who didn’t as false flag crisis actors.

It’s the price of being a Trump mook.

an inspiration?

At the end of Thursday’s hearing by the House Select Committee, Liz Cheney made a point of praising the women who testified before the committee. She named Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, as well as Sarah Matthews who had testified moments before. But Cheney singled out Cassidy Hutchinson for particular praise.

“She sat here alone, took the oath and testified before millions of Americans. She knew all along she would be attacked by President Trump, and by the 50, 60 and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. But like our witnesses today, she has courage, and she did it anyway. Cassidy, Sarah and our other witnesses, including Officer Caroline Edwards, Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, are an inspiration to American women and to American girls.”

Yes. And no. And yes again. Yes, all of these women deserve praise for doing the right thing. But let’s look at the totality of their circumstances. The two Georgia election workers were just doing their job like tens of thousands of election workers in every precinct in the United States. It’s an important job, but not an especially demanding one; it took no courage for them to do the right thing. Their courage was tested afterwards, when they were vilified for having done their job properly. Partisan politics didn’t play a role in their jobs.

Officer Edwards at the fist barricade

Officer Edwards was doing her job as well, but on January 6th her job put her in direct physical danger. She was one of a handful of officers who were the first line of defense at the Capitol building. They were quickly overwhelmed; she was knocked down, knocked unconscious, suffered a traumatic brain injury–then after she regained consciousness, she went back to work and for several hours fought in close combat with rioters. That clearly took courage and dedication. Partisan politics didn’t play a role in her job.

Partisan politics is why Sarah Matthews and Cassidy Hutchinson had their jobs. They each made a deliberate choice to work in the Trump administration. They supported the Trump administration. They knew who Donald Trump was–how he behaved and how he treated others. They knew his history. And they chose to work for him They directly witnessed how he ran the White House, how he reached policy decisions, how frequently his staff quit or were fired, how he demanded loyalty without returning it. They knew Donald Trump and they willingly supported and represented him.

That makes them complicit in Trump’s behavior. They worked for him diligently for four years, during which they were willing to disregard or condone his bad behavior. It wasn’t until he actively urged an angry mob to engage in a violent insurrection in order to illegally retain power that they decided he’d gone too far.

It’s to their credit that they were willing to draw the line at sedition and insurrection. And it’s to their credit that they were willing to testify against Trump. That took courage, because Liz Cheney is right–they both knew how Trump and his supporters would treat them. Because they’d see him do it to others. Because they were okay with him doing it to others. It took courage for them to step up; but it doesn’t make them heroes.

Officer Edwards, unconscious.

So yes, the courage of these women should, as Cheney said, be “an inspiration to American women and to American girls.” But no, there’s nothing inspirational about being willing to work for corrupt, cruel people until their corruption and cruelty becomes intolerable. And yes, it’s better to draw the line too late than not draw it at all.

They were all just doing their jobs. Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews aided a corrupt White House until the corruption became too much for them to accept. Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman simply processed ballots according to the rules, and were unfairly vilified for it. Officer Caroline Edwards helped provide security for the Capitol Building and protect the people inside.

You want inspiration for redemption, look at Hutchinson and Matthews. You want inspiration for honesty and integrity, look at Moss and Freeman. But if you want a hero, look at Officer Edwards.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Just a reminder that patriarchy is a social structure kept in place by ordinary folks. Pay attention to how people in power treat people with lesser power. Call out assholes, even if they’re people you generally agree with. Support decency, even if it comes from people you disagree with. And every chance you get, add a match to the fire that will burn the patriarchy to the ground.

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.”