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I was surprised at how personally I took the Jan. 6th attack. I realized I’d grown smug about the strength and longevity of our democratic system but on that day I felt in my gut how fragile it is. I felt it like a personal assault and it was some brave action and shear luck that resulted in it resolving as it did. There could have been kidnappings and executions. We could be under martial law right now.

Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. It’s clear that after Trump ran out of nonviolent options he decided all the domestic terrorists he’d befriended could work a last minute miracle for him.

Reliving January 6th via the impeachment presentations made me realize how deeply we’ve all been impacted by that terror and I wonder how long we’ll be dealing with it?

Trump’s tendency all along has been an amoral, empathy less weaponization of fear.

To my mind, democracy is such a big deal because it is our attempt to craft a substitute for all those systems of “might makes right” – whether kings or dictators, strong men or autocrats, all ruled by fear of who had the best weapons or warriors or most ruthless henchmen.

Democracy is not a contest of who has the better weapons but who has the best ideas about how to live well together and flourish. Where ideas can be presented, championed, criticized, debated, modified and ultimately chosen based on votes. It was designed to replace the game of threats of violence.

So when people brandish semi automatic weapons in political adds claiming to be their political adversaries “worst nightmare” – when halls of legislation are invaded by “patriots” in tactical gear, wearing weapons and ammo belts to look over the shoulders of elected officials trying to do the people’s business, or giving a thumbs up to a bullet to the head of The Speaker of the House (or anyone!) aren’t they all weaponizing fear? Aren’t they showing loudly and proudly that they aren’t playing by the rules of democracy? If their game is still “might makes right” shouldn’t that disqualify them from participating in a system of civilized democracy?

Acknowledging also that Trump’s “Big Lie” relentlessly portrayed a stolen election which signaled the end of democracy as we know it and returned his loyal followers to 1776 status and therefore under “different rules.” Such are the hazards of words wielded by an amoral authoritarian.

As disturbing and moving as the impeachment presentations are, I feel little hope that 17 GOP senators will choose the right side of history.

The only thing that gives me any glimmer of hope was the latest vote regarding Congress woman Cheney – who was being attacked and chastised for being among the ten republican representatives to voted in favor of impeaching a leader who turned his followers against democracy itself, ended up 145 to 61 in favor of her keeping her status in their party. But that vote didn’t require risk or bravery because it was a secret ballot which allowed people to vote their conscience and not be driven by fear. Fear not just of losing their jobs, or of being “primaried”, but real fear for their own and their family’s safety. Aren’t they being assaulted?

Assault refers to an act which causes a victim to apprehend imminent physical harm. Even for citizens not paying attention, since the insurrection and the attack on Congress on January 6th we have all heard many stories of the fear felt by the victims of that attack and the fear many of our representatives and staff of congress still feel. As for physical manifestations of that fear we need only look to the national guard troops and fences and razor wire in Washington DC, at the cost of over $500 million tax payer dollars.

Many of the followers of our former president seem quite pleased that so many citizens and legislators are experiencing fear for their safety and lives. Some laughingly brag about bringing their Glocks to Congress and then try to skirt metal detectors. To what degree is that fear effecting the way our leaders are voting? Might certain critical votes being private remedy that? Might private votes on certain issues allow our legislators to vote their conscience and facilitate more ethical government? Shouldn’t this impeachment trial be one of those occasions?

It makes sense that votes cast by our representatives are mostly public, as we want to know our representative’s records to see if they are earning our votes.

But what about this vote that will soon be made concerning the impeachment of former president Trump? To what degree will fear guide those votes, and how might the outcome differ if it was a secret vote? Might a secret vote result in clearer justice and shape the future of our Republic?

I’ve read it takes a simple majority vote of 51 in the Senate to make such a vote secret, but merely 20 votes can keep it public. This is a very simplistic and probably naive suggestion but what if we cast votes twice, one public and one secret? The discrepancy between them would reveal the amount of fear driving the outcome. If they’re close we honor the public vote and if they show a wide difference we honor the private vote? Pretty sure that'll never happen, but what if?

This rant is not that well thought out so I’d love to hear other’s ideas or insights into this. Heather?

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David, I agree with much of what you said. A cri de couer isn’t supposed to be thought out and it’s what you have given us this morning. Thank you! Regarding a secret vote: while it might lead to a more just outcome, I am not sure justice per se is actually the purpose of impeachment. We conflate legal concepts in to the constitutional process using terms that describe what happens in a court (trial, jury, misdemeanor etc) but impeachment is a political process. While the Senators judge the merits they themselves remain subject to the ultimate judgment of the people. A secret Senate vote would eliminate their own political accountability. This public accountability is lacking in trials by jury conducted by the judiciary, which are specifically intended to attain justice. After all, juries aren’t elected officials. I am beyond incredulous to witness craven, gutless Senators lacking the courage to stand up for our Republic and for the preservation of democracy, even to the mob that tried to kill them, for fear of that mob at the ballot box. But in its own way this process was designed to play out over a longer time horizon, and I expect it to continue evolving through this next election and beyond. Trump’s acquittal or conviction is just one step, and is neither a true beginning nor an end.

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My cousin is a Philadelphia lawyer who worked on the election and is heavily involved with the politics. I texted him to see how he thought it was going. He replied, “ Legal doesn’t matter. The jury is fixed.

Politically they [Dems] are doing great.”

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Jury "fixing" is a crime it seems to me ....but who's counting? The politics has got to be made to kill them.

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Thanks for that perspective Fred. I do know the process is political rather than legal/criminal and has lower standards of proof etc. It just so concerns me to see fear being such a deciding factor in the way people cast their votes, if there were some way to mitigate that influence it seems we'd benefit. Someone suggested a middle ground of such votes being secret but going into the Congressional record and be made public in a year or maybe two? I don't know if postponed accountability would be sufficient.

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I hear you and don’t mean to suggest there is only one path forward. Political processes don’t have rules the way legal ones do; procedurally it might be late but some mitigating strategy perhaps should be considered. It is ironic that a Constitution designed to avoid what the framers considered mob rule contains a process which is the focus of exactly that concern 230 years later.

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It doesn't lessen the impact that the oath the Senators take is to be a "fair and impartial juror." One "out" for them would be to recuse themselves as not being fair and impartial. I do wonder what has happened to Lindsey Graham that he is as resolute as he is in his defense of the FORMER president.

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True, and I can’t help but wonder how some of them square that circle. It is possible that some Senators may be absent from the vote, which would be another way of ducking. As to Lindsay Graham, I wonder the same thing.

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“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”

-- Joseph Heller "Catch 22"

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Can you please explain just why they are not being called out to leave when they so obviously have already made a decision?

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I saw on ABC during the break asked if Trump is acquitted what happens next and the guest(can't remember his name) said I think it will most likely just be dropped. Given ALL the evidence presented, if we shrug our shoulders and say oh well... how is that acceptable. It is stunning given the honest horror and outrage from say, Nixon's Impeachment, today the GOP only care about their personal power, they don't feel they have any duty to our country, to our laws, or our people. How is this allowed to stand?

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So, if the math on a majority vote to convict only counts the senator's present, wouldn't it be best for those who are not impartial to be out of the room when the vote is called?? Win win, right?

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They are "out of the room" (Hawley and Cruz studiously not paying attention, Paul and his antics, etc.) but they still vote in the end.

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I don't think they have the courage.. they haven't had it for 4+ years... so ... but it would be easier than to vote to convict!

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David, your essay should be published and read far and wide. I second all you have so beautifully stated. Thank you.

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Not well thought out? It’s brilliant!

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100%, David. I too take Jan 6, very, very personally. I've studied the Civil War for several decades, but only now can I finally understand how northern Unionists felt when Lincoln called for volunteers after Ft Sumter. 250,000 people rallied in NY's Union Square, the largest gathering in the history of North America. "It seems as if we never were alive till now; never had a country till now." And ultimately Unionist nationalism proved stronger, defeating the Confederacy and abolishing slavery. We beat them before; we'll do it again. As often as necessary.

J McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom

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It never pays to forget that democracy is a very recent political experiment.

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One of the first books I read on the subject....excellent.

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You have said exactly how I feel but did not know how to explain it as well! Thank you for taking the time to do so.

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Thanks Becky. No doubt your comments also assist others in understanding.

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David, your words are the same as many are thinking but not able to put into words as you did. Thank you for the “rant”. Although the impeachment is considered a political process, finding Donald Trump guilty is the only way our country can begin to heal. I believe other destructive leaders in history lost their followers once they lost their power. The shameful radical Republicans who are afraid to vote to convict are allowing Donald Trump to continue to maintain power over them. They could free themselves if they would stand up to his abuse over the years.

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Yes! It’s Catch 22.... and group think. If just a few more would take the step, to be honest, and willing to put their job, or their reputation on the line, I believe the other dominos would start to fall. But it doesn’t appear that will happen. I am devastated by the remarks by Lindsey Graham, and the other Senators who dismissed the presentation. I am more upset about January 6th then I was at the time. All the remarks and incidents leading up to that date, the bus of Biden volunteers on the road in Texas, the months of ‘rigged’ election remarks and accusations, the post office debacle, it was all a tragedy in 3 acts that we witnessed playing out in slow motion, but to see each and every step of this tied together, step by step, the time line ...bang, bang, bang... it truly overwhelmed me. This was so thoroughly orchestrated. He and the men behind the curtain set up a scenario brilliantly where if he didn’t win re-election they could easily shift to plan B. This was not a random string of events. Maybe he is an idiot, but he is surrounded by some brilliant and evil people who have coached and directed this show.

I am so sad. I was glued to the proceedings for 2 days and thought surely it would give pause to the other side, both in the chamber and around our country. But apparently not. I am saddened beyond belief. I feel like our beloved democracy is dangling on a very thin thread and I’m holding my breath. I am truly afraid.

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So much this! I can't watch the proceedings because it's leaving me full of despair, anger, hatred, fear, and feeling wrung out.

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yeah... I can't imagine how crushed the Impeachment Mangers must be!? They did (still are) such an incredible job..but I guess they know at least there will be a record...

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The IMs know that their task is near-insurmountable, but also know that they must persist. They will rank among the Better Angels in American history. The pro-insurrection senatorial scum will not.

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They educated all of America and all of the world. Not too shabby for one week’s work.

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Same for me.

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Me too. Everything you said.😭

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Yes, this 😢

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Your post reinforces my fear for our next election. Specifically worried about state officials maintaining integrity of the process and norms. If they still believe that they were cheated in 2020 will they in turn cheat to win next time?

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They already are.

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Yep. They need to be rooted out.

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Yes, but how?!?

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Identify the sec states and electors in the local and national press.

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Ok, but how do we rid ourselves of them? These people are so deeply entrenched, and have so many connections, that it seems to me that removing them is virtually impossible. And even if they are removed, it would have to be done in such a way that their followers are not further estranged.

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NOT a rant at all!!! Superbly Written!!!

Thank You💓😊

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Brilliant!

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So, if the math on a majority vote to convict only counts the senator's present, wouldn't it be best for those who are not impartial to be out of the room when the vote is called?? Win win, right?

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From your lips to God’s ears.

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“I was surprised at how personally I took the Jan. 6th attack.”

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I'm surprised the House impeachment team has not mentioned the quasi-criminal strategy the Trump reelection strategists put into practice to get Republicans to vote in person, thus exposing themselves to Coronavirus infection, so that the early vote count would be high in the first period and decline precipitously as mail-in ballots started to be counted, allowing the Trump people to shout "Fraud." This was a massive operation launched well before the election as states were considering unusual voting measures to reduce making polling stations super-spreader events. Trump wittingly and deliberately pushed Republican voters to put themselves in harms way to suit Trump's mad scheme. The influence campaign and planning this required shows a staggering and morally damnable willingness to expose people to mortal danger. This was an important part of the creation of the "stolen election" campaign. I would like to see more investigation into the role Stephen Miller played in some of Trump's more artful manipulations aimed at giving Trump mobster-like power and the least oversight possible.

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In March 2020 the NYT published data saying that if all precautions were followed, 82,000 Americans would die from Covid-19; if none were taken, 2.2 million would die. The difference is the total of avoidable deaths. Well guess what, 82,000 is way behind in the rear-view mirror; 2.2 mil is quite possible; and we must learn to live with Covid for years, possibly decades. There is the true measure of Trumpsky's malfeasance and dereliction of duty, even before losing the election and then conspiring to overthrow it. Manslaughter, negligent homicide, crimes against humanity -- take your pick. He's guilty of at least one, maybe all. If there's justice on Earth, may he receive the full measure due.

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I do NOT see the possibility of 2.2M deaths. Once people get vaccinated, the odds of severe illness plummet. Yes, we will have to live with Covid-19, but it will then be as the other Covid illnesses are... a cold or flu.

Do not get me wrong, Chump’s herd immunity plan, let everybody get sick to achieve it; is evil. But then, he is an evil, vile person.

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That 2.2 million figure was an upper limit based on doing nothing. We did a little before Kushner and others decided to let the virus run its course. I have written before that if we had followed Australia’s lead that we would have 10,000 dead. DJT is responsible for more than 456,000 deaths. He is America’s greatest mass murderer.

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The NYT projections came before effective vaccines, before we could hope that a major medical breakthrough could be made so rapidly. 2.2 mil deaths is less likely now, of course, but still possible. Consider all the maskholes who WILL NOT take precautions, and millions who won't get vaccinated. I expect a dangerous transition while vaccination proceeds, but many people ease up on precautions like social distancing, masking, opening businesses and schools, etc. Relief and a false sense of security are real factors.

Based on studying the history of disease for much of the past 30 years. I'll share my worst projection:

The first 50 years of Covid-19 will be the worst. The next 400 won't be so bad.

Alarmist? Maybe, but it reflects knowledge of the course of pneumonic and bubonic plague (the Black Death). After the BD peaked in the mid-14C, it hung around until the 18C. The course of a disease's history often progresses from pandemic > epidemic > endemic. It could take decades or centuries for Covid-19 to become as benign as cold or flu -- and both are still deadly to non-immune populations.

N Cook, Born to Die

A Crosby, Germs, Seeds and Animals

R Gottfried, The Black Death

C Gregg, Plague

W McNeill, Plagues and Peoples (best history of disease)

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This is right on the head of the nail...and the mutations continue. IMHO, 400 years is a fair estimate, and other pandemics will happen with endless habitat incursion and the warming climate.

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Thanks for reminder, Kim; the mutation aspect is another complicating factor.

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Yes, The loss of habitat and biodiversity weaken our natural rings of pathogen defense.

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Except if vaccines don’t roll out faster, mutations could bring rise to a strain that is immune to the vaccine, and/or more deadly, and/or faster spreading. I hope 2.2 million is not possible, but we have to stay vigilant and push for better vaccine roll out.

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The beast can also mutate itself out of the "infectious" league!

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I'll say it again, there is no such thing as "natural" herd immunity, that process is called natural selection.

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When we look back we will see a huge jump in deaths over the period of the pandemic that were not attributed to Covid. The true morbidity and mortality will take some time to be known. It won’t be pretty. All I can think of when I think of this is that Orange faced mobster grinning gleefully while rallying his sheep to their deaths.

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Totally. Read “The Great Influenza” Barry. Same mistakes, arrogance, minimizing, censorship. I think we r on the right track now I cam only hope

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I disagree. Natural selection = evolution. ‘Natural’ herd immunity, using your name for it, causes peoples’ immune systems to fight a reinfection, causing the virus to mostly die out w/very few hosts around. I spent decades in science.

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Doesn't natural herd immunity mean that a significant number of the herd will die off from the novel pathogen before the select stronger members gain immunity? like Native Americans with introduced smallpox and Polynesians with measles on first exposure to Europeans who had attained a degree of herd immunity.

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Yes European death rates for small pox were in the region of 33% (Black Death plague...50%) whereas the Native Americans eventually lost 95%. herd immunity can take a long time! this is a lot faster than Darwin suggested for "evolution".

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Yup

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Herd immunity is a veterinary term, referring to a vaccination program designed to prevent further deaths in a population. Or, one can simply "stand back and stand by" (sorry, couldn't resist) and let natural selection do it's thing.

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Like the deniers who refuse to take precautions of masking and distancing. Natural Selection - thinning the herd of its weakest minds.

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Seeking herd immunity without a vaccine, as the Trumpsky admin did, is a crime against humanity. So much unnecessary suffering and death .... Tragic.

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Ooops... well, I guess you would know, I am not sure...

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Lol, I am not sure of anything these days, other than djt is an evil man.

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Exactly...

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Not exactly. Natural selection means more suited to survive and reproduce. Herd immunity refers to 70-80% vaccination to stop spread. Herd immunity as a term should not be applied to a natural spreading event. More spread more mutations, and the cycle of sickness and spread repeats.

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It looks like that number is a worst case scenario of zero precautions taken. That's not the current case. With varying levels of risk mitigation we'll be hitting 500k soon enough, and the number will go up from there.

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Not everybody has taken precautions. Some states carry on as if the pandemic is a hoax! Life as usual...

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Potential for Mutations are high. Thus it could roar back. SARS had 9% mortality. MERS 29%. Both Corona viruses. Getting spread under control is so important.

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Could have gone higher than 2.2 if not mitigated. I’ve read as high as 6 mil. Just look at northern Italy. 7% mortality.

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Stephan Miller should be on trial this week.

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So should every seditionist republican who signed their names to overturn our 2020 election. Not one of them should be allowed to be jurors in this case. It is so obvious it makes my blood boil to see these immature dunderwhelps thumbing their noses at our democracy and this trial. Why are the dems not speaking to that point?

Seditionist jurors sitting and mocking the trial of their lead seditionist? We are no going into the sixth year of constant insults to our democracy and our intelligence. Can all of these thickwiggits be brainwashed? They have violated their oaths of office and to the people for four years...it is so damned clear.

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"Dunderwhelps" and " thickwiggits"....great descriptive words!!!!

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they are all on trial this week....in the court of public opinion.... hence the dramatized and televised Democrat show.

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Yes me too. I smell Miller in everything egregious that Fake45 does.

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Sounds like a massive case of manslaughter.

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I was thinking Felony Murder.

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yes but with a cooperative judge in the right place it would be considered only as embarrassing as killing a Native American girl or guy in the wilds of the Dakotas or some such place......hardly meriting judgement let alone incarceration or probation!

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Try viewing "Wind River." It's a feature film but it exposes the tragic plight of Native Amer women, who have been undervalued, dehumanized and brutalized for centuries. Even today there is no comprehensive data on rapes, assault and murder. A national disgrace.

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already done when it came out. Perfectly agree with your analysis

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Good taste distinguishes you, Stuart.

Wind River has many merits: the mystery, acting, script, plot/character development. But everyone please note, there are several scenes with gut-wrenching violence. It's not for the squeamish.

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The managers aren’t finished yet. They have 2/11 to continue their presentation.

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Good point. That was a particularly macabre piece of Trump's theatre. But I think the house managers are right in choosing the more blatant pieces of Trump's reality TV style of coup.

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I still feel like there is something missing from this story. Why are these Republicans REALLY sticking with Trump?

None of the hypotheses I've seen feel right.

In fact, their antics are so bizarre that I've even entertained the notion that they are true patriots, secretly sacrificing their careers for the purpose of tearing the Republican Party to shreds, so that the nation can survive. Loyal crew members taking the dangerous nuclear submarine all the way to the bottom of the ocean.

Which is absurd, of course. But so is just about any other scenario.

I have to go back to my most basic conspiracy go-to: if it looks like a conspiracy, and smells like a conspiracy, and scares you like a conspiracy, then stop and check to see if it is simply stupidity. And it may be that these 40-some-odd Senators are just that brain-dead.

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Honestly it just makes me wonder what blackmail and or payoffs re involved t least with someone like Lindsey Graham and Ron Johnson and of course McConnell always has something evil behind ll of his choices. I just don’t understand why the CIA or FBI hasn’t figured it out or how to pecifically tie. Republican or Trump directly with this.

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Now that they are back in professional hands they will surely be looking at the question.

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It is about time. May they prepare their cases thoroughly and honorably.

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I think so as well.

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I think that they are caught between a rock and a hard place....damned if they do, damned if they don't. They are stuck, immobile like a rabbit crossing the road in some passing cars headlights. At that moment the mind doesn't function logically, the reptillion brain is all alone, unfettered by thinking functions and unable to chose a strategy for safe escape.

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Is it that terrifying that one might lose an elected position and have to work for a living again?

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Apparently yes. Their status and membership of the "clan" defines who they are. They would be afraid of falling down a hole if they had to rely solely on their personal qualities and skills. Like taking away the psychological defenses of a manic depressive. The depths of the unconscious beckons!

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Stuart, I think you are correct. Their identity, their purpose, their reason for existence; their power are all at stake and they see it slipping away. Never to be retrieved.

Following this thread, I think there are a couple of quiet thoughts that aren't being said out loud.

First, this 'trial' is not meant for the consumption of the 'jury' (the Senators). It is designed and scripted for the mass public. This is the opening act of the next election cycle. And it seems to be going quite well for the 'prosecution'.

Second, I question the depth and breadth of what we term 'Trumps base'. I do not think there are as many of them, nor are they organized and focused, as some would have us believe.

All that said, ad revenues from media outlets must be way up - and that dear friends is what this is all about. Rant off.

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Look to the actions of the Republican party at the state level. Arizona and Michigan have been in the news the past few days. Other state parties (Wyoming and another that I cannot recall off the top of my head) have "reprimanded" their Representatives for voting with the Democratic party in their moving forward with impeachment. Oregon's Republican party has gone full Q, as have others (Pennsylvania comes to mind). I believe that the "base" is vast, and not all of it would be visible to most scrutiny.

I know that my small work group (8 or so) is staunchly pro tRump and many believe some of the Qonspiriacy theories. Sadly, this small work group is mostly very young cops.

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Arrgh! That’s painful!

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My sense here in AZ is that the GOPQ hierarchy is considered to be pretty far right, and worse. It is they who are getting bashed for losing the two Senate seats, and the general election.

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Ally, do these young officers think that Trump was pro-law-enforcement or, is there some other nefarious undertones influencing their Q beliefs? I'm saddened to hear this as I'm very pro-law enforcement!

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The money, power and privilege out weighs any moral integrity it seems.

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Many are past retirement age and wealthy enough to live in a manner to which most of their constituents will never become accustomed.

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Exactly, one of my arguments for term and age limits for Congress and, in this context, the basis for my question. Since they have nothing personal to lose or even to put seriously at risk, what is the driver? Most won't achieve any more than they already have.

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They'll lose face, which is important to them. All these years, they've been catered to, fawned over, and treated almost like royalty. Why wouldn't they do everything possible to keep that? It's a drug, especially in the hypermasculine atmosphere of this country, and they do not want to be seen as a loser.

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Ego and lust for power, always more power.

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But they get to write their own rules. Such as how much time off, paid insurance for themselves and family, and generous pension. There is no transparancy with their tax records or possible conflicts of interests. No divesting of interests, and the get inside trading information that can be freely used to make profit with no consequences. They won't allow term limits, it would cramp their power.

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Wait a minute.... I guess I knew these things but hadn’t put it all together like that.... there’s got to be some changes! Especially financial information!

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Congressional retirement is based on the number of years worked. Still better than the average worker. Not sure what the rate is, I retired from local government with 2.7% after 15 years. Oh yeah, I had to be over 55 (I was just shy of 65).

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Wonder if they ever really talk to each other and maybe consider that “safety in numbers”, enough agreeing that they need to convict, would get them past the control of Trump, his base, and certain state Republican committees? An overwhelming majority of the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats together, could do this.

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This is the key, I think. Right now the safest place seems to be with Cruz/Hawley while the Cheny/Romney/Kinzinger crowd looks exposed and hung out to dry. But enough defections will make the Trump side nervous and we could see a tipping point where they all rush to the other side of the room. Not sure how many defections is enough. Trump derives his power from these Republicans, not the other way around. They can extinquish him and will have no better opportunity than this vote.

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Makes you think of mercury in a measuring device....poison trying to find a safe place to hide.

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Great analogy!

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Maybe enough to get within shouting distance of the 17 R's needed to convict. Only 11 more to go....

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All Hands On Deck! To the Tipping Point!

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Exactly

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The Orks will be on their own and certainly won't trust each other. They talk...just like they would in a bar with a stranger!

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Orks?

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Think Tolkien!

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Think orcs from Lord of the Rings, not orks.

I still reference flying monkeys from the Wizard of OZ. Not as scary as later evil beings, but the terrors of childhood can last a lifetime.

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Yes! But the republicans?! Behind the schoolyard fence, maybe...but they might see their shadow and then have bad luck for 7 years!

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Stuart, I don't think they have anything to lose, plus they might pick up Trump's voters. But even if they fail to be reelected, those in political power will see that they are protected with "employment" in law firms, think tanks, or media. Once in office, if you behave properly, the party pretty much takes care of their own. And for these "courageous" Republicans the payback could be substantial.

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If the party contues to exist and not if they have displeased Trump in any way.

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Now THAT seems to make sense!

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I'm thinking of what I call the "curious case of Mick Mulvaney." I've seen several interviews with him, and HIS theory is that something "changed" in Trump, sometime AFTER Trump replaced him as Chief of Staff, and eventually moved him to Select Envoy to Ireland. I think he understood he was thrown under the bus -- he made an aside regarding his current position that indicates he knows he's been sent to the Outer Mongolia of the US power structure. But he continues to defend the "presidential Trump" he claims that he and everyone else worked for before that. In two different interviews, his viewpoint was directly challenged by the interviewer: why is it that you [Mick] see this as a big change in Trump, when everyone else thinks this is "vintage Trump?" He sticks to his story, that Trump was a great man, who has somehow become a monster. Also peculiarly, he doesn't seem to see the actual threat to the nation, as he sees that Trump has ruined his "legacy."

I think Mulvaney shows the behaviors of a true cultist, and if he follows that trend, he's going to spend years processing his own psychological abuse, slowly moving from Trump's "incomprehensible change" to "my own blindness and willingness to be duped from the start." In the end, he'll likely have some peace over the matter. But it will be a hard road.

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One justifies ones own moral lapses as one can. For that the conscious mind is highly tuned and motivated. The unconscious mind eventually skewers you and you have to pay the piper!

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“The Righteous Mind”, by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, describes clearly how our minds work to defend and rationalize our own ideas and actions while refuting and condemning those of others.

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I think it is all CYA.

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Just ask Michael Cohen. He’s been down that road

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So "Let's all safely vote to acquit"?

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it shows clearly who they are instinctively more afraid of.

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Stuart, they should be afraid of the people that the former President has gathered together.

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i note the use of the conditional

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I agree, Joseph. There's something not quite right about sticking with a disgraced former President who they all hated behind his back while he was President. Someone I was discussing this with said that they stick with him because they want the votes of his base. I think that Republicans have no desire to govern or pass legislation - just a desire to hold on to their own power. But are they so desperate that they must cling to the votes of insurrectionists? And continue to give power to Trump? What can he do to them? If they are afraid of being primaried, then maybe they should actually start governing instead of just capitulating to the base. Have they thought about the votes of suburban people that they are losing be becoming the party that condones violence?

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Well, I think it's telling that they say one thing in private, but 180 degrees in private. The Rs had the crap scared out of them just like the Ds did.

I also think the picture of Hawley with the power fist salute to the rioters is interesting, too. It's like he knew ahead of time what was going down. He doesn't seem to be walking in the same direction as the rioters. As if he knew to stay away from the Capitol building at the correct time.

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Governing. Now that's a novel idea....

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I'm a little stymied by the power angle - I mean, I get it there are a lot of perks that the unwashed masses don't get when you have POWER - but is that all? Is it just greed and acquisitiveness and banal flaunting or do they want to DO something with that power? And if so, what?

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rake in more $$$ to their wallets. Greed. At least they aren't literally killing each other off to get more lucrative corrupt positions.

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Ego? An overriding desire to be top of the heap?

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standard reaction of the weak "creatures" surrounding a bully.

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Untill the bully is well and truly taken down and made to be a laughing stock of all as his innate cowardice is exposed.

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Bullies cannot stop, but they can be stopped.

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In The Mob, control comes from having something on them, or a threat to their families...

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I think often about the fact that FBI reported that *both* RNC and DNC got hacked by Russia, but only embarrassing DNC e-mails were released (Podesta, etc). Kompromat and blackmail are very real. Can't prove it, of course, but rather suspicious that Assange and his little buddies were silent as a tomb when it came to the RNC dirt. Silence speaks volumes.

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Fascinating ... I've thought it very odd that so many Trump affiliates--even a retired military general--met with Russians during the Obama/Trump transition, and then lied about it (or forgot to report it). I suspect there's much more to the Russia+Republican relationship than is currently known by the public.

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That is about the only conclusion I can arrive at is the Republican Party is somehow compromised by Russia. Was it ever revealed why the eight Republican Senators went to Russia over July 4th in 2019?

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Release the tax returns, and the Golden Showers videos. Plural!

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I'd forgotten about that July 4th 2019 trip ...

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I met a drug dealer from Mexico in the 80's who told me that the U.S. Republican party was the largest funder of the PRI which had been covertly running the drug cartels. If you read up on the story, the edict from Haldeman and from Reagan was that they could benefit by managing the drug problem here in many ways. Reagan's foreign policy in Latin America was that it's better to support a drug economy than to face a socialist/communist regime. And in may ways he turned out to be right.

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I was right with you until the last line. I'm thinking you mean it's right for Conservative politicians who use the term socialist as a stick to beat their opponents with in public opinion, with the added benefit of a steady drug supply to undermine social cohesion in lower economic classes, leading to the opportunity to create an authoritarian carceral state, or do you actually agree with Reagan? Just asking.

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NO, not at all... I was making an ironic comment how the socialist leaders Morales, Chavez and Lula had made things difficult.

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Umm, ok. I think the capitalist system creates insurmountable difficulties for those leaders because socialist policies can't be allowed to succeed. Irony can be subtle.

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I read Jeff as saying that Reagan's approach worked in yielding political advantages, which it did.

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Ugh.. so much ugly dirt we have swept under the rug. How much more will be revealed?

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"We're gonna need a bigger vacuum!"

(adapted from "Jaws")

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Read Timothy Snyder’s “The Road to Unfreedom.” Start with Chapter 6 (then go back and read it all - it is heinously riveting). This book is a roadmap of Trumpism running back to the pre Cold-War era. The web of money, debt and deceit is virtually impenetrable.

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Oh. Need to expand my Snyder library!

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Yes. This one goes high on the list.

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Interesting. Hadn’t been aware of that.

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And now threatening Republican senators before an Impeachment vote on conviction?

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He's a bully and bullies can't stop -- but they can be stopped.

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Ego, ambition and greed explain a lot.

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Ample proof that Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc don't necessarily make you more intelligent than the low-life Greene.....just more knowledgeable!

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And it seems that none of this knowledge correlates with ethical behavior.

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Ethics isn't necessarily just a question of facts and logic.

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Absolutely. All these so called "highly educated" Senators are making conscious decisions to avoid the facts and logic in favor of continuing to support the most corrupt, unethical, immoral President in modern history. All to keep their own power. Nothing ethical about that.

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"Ethics? What ethics? We don' need no stinkin' ethics!"

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There is the question of why Trump started the bar fight, since he ended up getting the crap kicked out of himself. I've seen indications that some of the Republican Senators are trying on that defense: Trump couldn't have intentionally started that fight, since it worked out so poorly for him.

The more plausible answer to that is obvious: he didn't intend for the bar fight to turn out that way. And if you look at the videos, it's clear that there was intent to a) stop the vote counting, and b) kill members of Congress. That would (theoretically) interrupt his pending loss of power, and would give him a "national emergency" into which he could declare extraordinary powers and reshape the US government as he pleased, perhaps even installing "acting legislators."

This makes a fairly convincing narrative that explains the facts, reveals intent, and while it portrays Trump as a monster, it isn't outside the parameters of his past behaviors and the general character of a pathological narcissist.

Furthermore, when confronted by the utter failure of his coup on all points, he had only two real options: surrender with honor (meaning, in his case, walking out the door under his own power while whining and lying the whole way), or barricading himself inside the White House. He chose the former. The story makes complete sense.

I cannot get my head around the Republicans in the Senate in the same way. It's almost like they're still waiting for a better outcome. Like this game isn't over in their minds.

That worries me.

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I think you are exactly right.

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And now he has to find someone else to blame for his own incompetence. First up he has attacked the people in the riot themselves and the Republicans voting to certify results, agree to impeachment. As this will not be enough after the PR debacle created by the Dem's impeccable and impressive impeachment performance, he will start to attack his own sychophantic elected representatives as they weren't even capable of stopping this happening.......he'll start to devour his own; dog eat dog. The 2022 reupublican primaries have already started and he'll be looking to replace them all!

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Ya...another shoe to drop

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Brain dead and greedy are two convenient rationalizations for these behaviors. Sociopathic delusions buttress their actions.

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Good people are challenged to wrap their minds around seeing a POTUS as evil. To this day, so many folks appear to not understand the evil in 45. Just above I saw a comment blaming Miller. Yes of course Miller is also evil, but he was hired by Trump, as was Bannon. Trump is not a bumbling idiot.

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and there are 74 million people who seem to believe that Biden is evil! Not so uncommon and not apparently so difficult for them.

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The power of words coming from organized evil. Our minds are more plastic than we have realized. Now that we understand how will we evolve?

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Don't worry, they have an answer to that...sabotage education and there is no possibilty of understandingg just acceptance. You are left with the image of Kaa in the Jungle Book..mesmerizing the population.

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It’s especially complex but I propose that starting at the earliest ages to pass on the importance and care needed for good brain health would go along way. We know organic brain damage is prevalent in people who have murdered. I’d be willing to bet that many in the Capitol on 1/6 had a history of TBI. So much of it flies under the radar. NOT saying it’s the sole reason, just to be very clear.

“Wiseman takes a distinctively interdisciplinary approach, drawing on insights from philosophy, biology, theology, and clinical psychology. He considers philosophical rationales for moral enhancement, and the practical realities they come up against; recent empirical work, including studies of the cognitive and behavioral effects of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine; and traditional moral education, in particular the influence of religious thought, belief, and practice. Arguing that morality involves many interacting elements, Wiseman proposes an integrated bio-psycho-social approach to the consideration of moral enhancement. Such an approach would show that, by virtue of their sheer numbers, social and environmental factors are more important in shaping moral functioning than the neurobiological factors with which they are interwoven.”

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/myth-moral-brain

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That sounds fascinating. It makes me wonder about just exactly a "moral" brain would be defined by people of different philosophical bents.

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Certainly morals are defined by cultures to a large extent, but there are some basic ones that most of humanity would agree with like thou shalt not kill. I’m suggesting we teach Braincare101 at the earliest ages. Maybe folks in their ivory towers don’t really understand the lack of guidance given to the masses in their youngest years?How to feed and care for your brain so that it functions optimally....

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bent often being the key word in such relativistic judgements!

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I'm thinking tRump has something on them, a la FBI Director Hoover back in the day. Or they've been invaded by body snatchers. Can they be that cynical?

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Ya, if the body snatcher is puppeteer Putin.

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When it comes to money and power, many of us stop thinking with our frontal cortex.

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On the contrary, they think only with that and without other parts of the brain bringing ethical restraints like "values", etc. They are blithely ignorant of the fact that a churning mind does not aways produce useful or intelligent ideas and have no way of evaluing their thoughts, the possible repercushions or their efficacy.

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Because it’s their livelihood? They will most likely lose their very jobs and have to find work elsewhere if the vote no. I can’t stand any of this anymore than anyone else here but there are millions of Americans who do all kinds of things to keep their jobs that they don’t necessarily believe in their heart of hearts. Because they will lose pensions, medical, salaries and have to start all over.

It’s not just in Congress.

I’ve been in public education for decades and I’ve seen borderline child abuse from school workers more than I can count. But they get to keep their jobs. My 15-year-old son was thrown against a wall by a veteran teacher and called a fucking punk. Teacher still working to this day.

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That's horrible, Tricia! I'm so sorry about what they did to your son.

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Thank you. Looking back, I had every opportunity to file charges and make it a big deal. It would have been hell on our family, on my own career, and on the man's family. We chose to quietly walk away and get me son into counseling .. and which helped.

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Good Lord!! Horrid! I am very sorry.

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One of my sisters suggested that if all the Republicans got together and AS ONE, voted to convict Trump, they could rid themselves of the cancer in their party! Just use your power collectively! My students in middle school figure out quickly that working together means more power and better problem-solving. Poor Republicans have been so sickened with greed for money and power, they cannot see their own nakedness.

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And fear is a powerful paralyzing force.

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They have become accustomed to their power, their greed, their ability to get what they want. These GOP members of Congress are only interested in their own agenda. They are not there to try and work with the Democrats, they are not there to do what is best for American, they are there to do what is best for themselves.

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I think you make a good point especially when corporate donors are pulling their support from supporters of The Big Lie. What is compelling so many of them to support Trump?

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Halting donations to individual candidates is a good first step for donors. But it's still more crucial to cut off PACs which so heavily influence elections. Officially unable to directly support specific people, their unofficial support, mostly negative campaigning, has a huge impact. It also has done a great deal to turn off voters to politics in general. Declining civic engagement is never good.

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As David Frum put it in the Atlantic tonight:

If a senator like Marco Rubio did not feel his world tightening around him, he would not look so haunted. The Republican senators are shrinking before the eyes of the whole country. They are all becoming “liddle.” They know it. They feel it. They hate it. But they cannot stop it.

"Profiles in Cowardice" indeed.

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They are now constantly looking over their shoulders.....on the right they are afraid to see Trump advancing on them and glowering angrily but over the left shoulder they are frightened to death of seeing the DOJ and a bunch of State AGs closing in to put a hand on them with "bracelets" in tow. You can't take a pill to get rid of this sort of anxiety!

In Trumps world the existing Ork Senators are failures as they haven't been able to get him what he wants. However they vote on Impeachment, he will grind them all into the earth in primaries so that next time he gets what he wants.....and now, instantly and without a whimper or discussion.....and without opposition from anyone else.

The "Lincoln" Republicans and the new "Bush" group will attack these subservient, slithery "ground dwellers" from the other side, appealling to those few republicans who still maintain a modicum of sense. The battle for the heart of the GOP has begun its downward spin.....like the Kamikazi aircraft of past enemies of the Republic.

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Is there any chance that we are overestimating Trump’s control over them going forward? I know that we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but can’t we pick away at the delusional and misguided thinking that we’re fighting against? It won’t happen overnight, but educate, educate, educate? Community service for those people who are most vulnerable to the propaganda? I am grasping at straws I know, but I am not ready to give up. My Senators are so good, Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal,

I just can’t believe what we’re seeing, and have been for 5 years....

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Sorry?! I guess this posted twice!

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Twice as convincing ....

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You are so fun!~

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That's kind, Cyn. I'm fun on alternate Thursdays; hoping this is one.

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Is there any chance that we are overestimating Trump’s control over them going forward? I know that we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but can’t we pick away at the delusional and misguided thinking that we’re fighting against? It won’t happen overnight, but educate, educate, educate? Community service for those people who are most vulnerable to the propaganda? I am grasping at straws I know, but I am not ready to give up. My Senators are so good, Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal,

I just can’t believe what we’re seeing, and have been for 5 years....

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I have a good pair of Senators in Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkely; paired with a great Representative in Peter DeFazio. Oregon's state Republican Party has gone over to the Q side, and I am not sure how one would go about reclaiming that party from the wingnuts. I think that there is no reasoning with True Believers who have swallowed the Big Lie and are prostrating themselves for an authoritarian to rule them.

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Yes, we do have good representation in Congress but, how about the "new" guy from Eastern Oregon? Being, I believe, the only Republican delegate from Oregon, he seems to be dancing to the tune of the Oregon Republican Party! I believe he's from Malheur which is uncomfortably close to the our eastern neighbor and the Ammon Bundy bunch! I fear Central/Eastern Oregon is becoming less-blue (sounds better than "pinker").

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If it was a question of factual, logical argument...it would help...but the only way around this is to change the conditions that created it...education, jobs and efficient, "empathetic" government.

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