(Update: Thanks again to Batocchio for sharing this blog on Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up! Io Saturnalia to you all, and stay safe for 2021!)
In this past week or so - after the Electoral College performed its duty and officially confirmed Joe Biden as our next President and Kamala Harris our next Vice President this January 2021 - I felt the need to apologize in some way. I was looking back at all the things I'd been blogging since before Election Day, taking note of all the times I was raising alarm at some of the more unsettling and violent things donald trump and his fervent Far Right voting base were plotting to do.
I looked at some of the stuff I was posting and I'd come to a shameful understanding that I seemed to be fearmongering much in the way the wingnuts had been fearmongering about Dems and Progressives. I'd kept posting stuff like "Oh SHIT they're arming and marching stay alert America" at every trumpian outburst, and it didn't look good. I mean, fear is a rational response to an irrational situation, but I might have been overdoing it.
And then THIS SHIT happens - like an ex-cop on a wingnut payroll kidnapping a repairman and his truck in a desperate attempt to prove thousands of ballots had been "stolen" - and I retract my apology, because CHRIST ALMIGHTY it's getting crazier out there. Here's the statement from the Harris County DA office:
According to a court document describing probable cause for the charge, Aguirre told police shortly after the Oct. 19 incident, that he was part of a group of private citizens called, “Liberty Center,” who were conducting a civilian investigation into the alleged ballot scheme.According to Aguirre, he had been conducting surveillance on the victim for four days under a theory the victim was the mastermind of a giant fraud, and there were 750,000 fraudulent ballots in a truck he was driving. Instead, the victim turned out to be an innocent and ordinary air conditioner repairman.Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of the truck to get the technician to stop and get out, according to the document. When the technician got out of the truck, Aguirre, pointed a handgun at the technician, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the man’s back – an image captured on the body-worn camera of a police officer.Aguirre directed police to a parking lot nearby where another suspect, who has not been identified, took the truck. There were no ballots in the truck. It was filled with air conditioning parts and tools.Aguirre never told police that he had been paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, with $211,400 of that amount being deposited into his account the day after the incident...
It's that last paragraph where I think the media is burying the lede. Aguirre was on a payroll for this obscure but obviously well-funded organization focused on proving voter fraud that no one has been able to prove. This ex-cop was getting paid a handsome sum - few people are paid six-figure wages like that! - to prove a lie. Results were expected for that kind of money, you'd think. There's a saying from Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” There should be a related saying to that: "When a man is getting paid to prove a lie, expect that man to commit crimes to make that lie come true."
There are hundreds of political operatives and consultants - there is an army of trump lawyers charging back and forth across every courthouse - trying to force trump's lie of a "stolen election" to come true. There's millions of dollars floating out there paying every single one of them to subvert any morality and commit any sin, just to gain a foothold somewhere to keep trump happy.
But the courtrooms - despite all the partisan hackery that trump and Mitch have pushed through the Senate to fill those benches - are crucibles, in them we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product: The Truth, for all time. (Yes I am quoting Picard, actually the screenwriter is Melinda Snodgrass). trump's lies about voter fraud can find no safe haven in the legal system, and so any legitimate excuse for trump to seize and remain in power cannot exist.
It doesn't mean trump won't stop trying. Which is why this past Friday when word got out about trump plotting with some of his crazier allies about seizing the ballot machines and declaring martial law, it should have activated every DEFCON-1 warning among Americans that shit is getting real:
If we can go to Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine for more details:
At the White House on Friday, President Trump held what may have been his most deranged meeting yet. In it, the president raged at his loyalists for betraying him, and discussed taking extralegal measures to overturn the election.The meeting, first reported by the New York Times, included lawyer and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, convicted felon Michael Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani. One plan floated at the meeting was for Trump to appoint Powell as a “special counsel” overseeing allegations of voter fraud. Powell’s voter fraud claims are so fantastical she has been mocked even by other far-right legal conspiracy theorists. Andrew McCarthy, a former birther and author of one book titled How Obama Embraces Islam’s Sharia Agenda and another calling for his impeachment on multiple counts, has described Powell’s vote-fraud claims as “loopy.”Trump also reportedly brought up Flynn’s proposal, which he has expounded on cable news, to impose martial law and direct the military to hold a new election. “At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea,” reports the Times...There is no reason to believe Trump commands the power to actually implement any of these wild ideas. Trump’s best chance to steal the election was to have the decisive voting margin in the Electoral College determined by the counting of mail-in ballots that were mailed before, but arrived after Election Day. This would have let him either persuade the Republican-controlled Supreme Court to invalidate those decisive ballots, or Republican-controlled state legislators to disregard their state’s voting results and appoint pro-Trump electors to represent their state...
They tried to force "competing Electors" last week in publicly-staged counter-votes during the Electoral College's actual count, as though these fake results could be presented in Congress to force a negation of the real thing. Problem is, there's no guarantee that Congress will overturn the voters and put trump back in office. At best it would still evict trump and Pence from office on January 20 and make Pelosi (as Speaker) promoted to the Presidency due to the succession rules of the 25th Amendment.
None of this is stopping trump or the Republicans from arguing that Biden is an "illegitimate" winner, although by all measures - legal voting results, no evidence of mass fraud, a verified Electoral College - Biden is indeed our President-Elect set to swear into office exactly one month from now.
None of this is going to stop trump and his cohorts - his rabid fanbase, the wingnuts paying themselves to perpetuate their own lies, the greedy and corrupt - from pursuing even more outlandish and likely violent reactions to the basic norms of political reality. The legal filings are going to get worse and the Freudian slips marginally funnier ("Plenty of perjury"? Don't they have these legal forms on a bloody template by now? Where's the damn Spell-Check on WordPerfect?!)
I am not apologizing one bit for fearmongering about trump's efforts to start up his coup and break the Constitution.
I am not going to relax until January 20th rolls around and the Secret Service drags him out of the White House by his feet.
Anything can happen in the next 30 days. Stay alert and stay safe. AND GODDAMMIT WEAR THE DAMN MASKS, COVID IS GETTING WORSE. /muttergrumble