We almost said 'Hunter Biden,' but that wasn't obviously a joke.
After House Speaker Nacy Pelosi offered some measures to allow greater Republican input on a possible 9/11-style commission on the January 6 insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday said he was willing to meet Pelosi halfway, as long as "halfway" means a full six or seven months before the armed invasion of the Capitol and includes things that had nothing at all to do with it. The problem with January 6 is that it makes Donald Trump and his supporters look bad, so for the sake of balance, McCarthy suggested any commission should also investigate the riots that broke out following a small percentage of last year's protests against police murdering Black people.
In reply to a question from a HuffPo reporter, McCarthy "explained,"
I think if you're going to have a commission, you should look at the whole broad spectrum. [...] We just went through a whole summer of riots throughout the city.
What do those have to do with the attempt to overturn the 2020 election? Nothing at all, but you have to look at the larger picture, which is that in order to heal, or at least to give Republicans something to be outraged about too, we need a Whataboutism Commission.
Pelosi had originally proposed a commission with seven members appointed by Democrats and and four chosen by Republicans, with subpoena power being limited to the Dems. (That's roughly how the Republicans ran their Benghazi investigation, except Pelosi said she'd actually allow Republicans to attend hearings, which was pretty generous.) But after complaints from McCarthy and others, Pelosi said the commission could have an equal partisan makeup, and subpoenas would require either a majority vote of panel members, or a joint decision by the chair and vice chair.
Nope, nowhere good enough for Republicans, because whatabout a lot of things that weren't January 6, huh? The complaints didn't just come from McCarthy, but also from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who griped earlier this week that any commission needed to be more "balanced," and that simply focusing on the attempt to undo an election was far too narrow, since that would only make one president and virtually his entire party look bad, and how is that fair?
"The scope of it needs to deal with a little bit broader than just January the 6th. We've also had a number of violent disturbances around the country last year, and I think we ought to look at this broader scope, and with a totally balanced, 9/11-style commission. If [Pelosi] were willing to put that forward, I think it would enjoy broad bipartisan support."
Well golly, we bet that would have broad Republican support for sure, although some extremely partisan Democrats might point out that the actual 9/11 commission didn't also discuss the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Tuskeegee experiments, or the Irish potato famine, even though those were all very bad things.
Besides, Republicans are still very proud of that dumb video Trump's impeachment lawyers put together, showing Democrats saying the word "fight" again and again without any context, and they'd really like to get more use out of it.
Without some sort of Republican buy-in, there likely won't be any commission at all, since the enabling legislation would have to get 60 votes in the Senate (unless Dems get rid of the filibuster, which means we need to curse under our breath at Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema yet again).
At her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi amusingly entertained the possibility that Republicans might try being reasonable, because she can be delightfully puckish that way. Since she was willing to meet their demands for equal membership on the commission and on subpoena power, she joshed, "well, why would they object to the scope, which is to find the truth of what happened on January 6 when an insurrection descended upon the Capitol?"
Oh, Nancy, you really are good at satire the end.
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Better late than never.
The Great Unfucking continues apace! Yesterday the White House approved the promotion of Lt. Col. Yevgeny "Eugene" Vindman to colonel after Trump and his lackeys tried to torpedo his career in apparent retaliation for his role in the Ukraine impeachment scandal. Which makes TWO nicetimes posts in one day! See, the earth really is healing.
On February 7, 2020, two days after Trump was acquitted in his first impeachment, Eugene and his twin brother Alexander were unceremoniously fired and escorted off the White House grounds when they showed up for work. Subtle! The brothers were among the first to raise the alarm about the former president's "perfect, perfect phone call" in which he threatened to withhold congressionally allocated defense funds if Ukraine wouldn't gin up a fake investigation into Joe Biden and his son. At the time, Eugene was a legal advisor to the National Security Council on which Alexander was the Director of European Affairs.
Both brothers reported their concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC's legal advisor, only to watch their careers go up in smoke because Eisenberg was up to his ass in the Ukraine fuckery. He was the one who made sure the transcript of the call got buried on the bin Laden server; he helped Barr hide the Ukraine whistleblower complaint from Congress; and then he signed off on routing the investigation of the whistleblower's concerns through the DOJ's Criminal Division, where Barr's stooge Brian Benczkowski was only too happy to bury it again.
Clearly he wasn't going to help the Vindman brothers. But he went one step further and tried to fuck them, according to a whistleblower complaint filed by Eugene in August. Lt. Col. Vindman says that in his capacity as the chief ethics advisor to the NSC, he went to Eisenberg with multiple allegations of impropriety by then National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. O'Brien is alleged to have "engaged in demeaning and demoralizing sexist behavior against … female NSC professionals," forced staff to complete personal errands for him, and granted preferential access to business interests by mislabeling the meetings as "social calls."
After which Eisenberg allegedly told Vindman to back off and mind his own business. Vindman responded that it was unethical for O'Brien to take a taxpayer-funded trip with his wife to address his daughter's ROTC group at Brigham Young University, and that of course it was Vindman's business because he was the bloody ethics lawyer for the NSC.
Here's Eisenberg's performance evaluation of Vindman in 2019.
Yev is a top 1% military attorney and officer and the best LTC with whom I have ever worked. Functioning at the executive level, he advises White House senior staff with skill, tact, and judgment on matters of geostrategic importance. Sought by White House staff regularly, he can do any job in the legal field under unusual and constant pressure and scrutiny. Select now for SSC [Senior Service College] and promote immediately to COL [Colonel]. Absolutely unlimited potential!
And here's what he wrote in 2020, with the help of Michael Ellis, the former Devin Nunes aide who was all the way up the ass of every bit of Russia-Ukraine filth for the entire four years of the Trump administration.
Over time, LTC [Y.] Vindman displayed increasingly poor judgment and failed to learn from his mistakes. On multiple occasions, his unprofessional demeanor made NSC staff feel uncomfortable. Despite express guidance from his supervisor, he continued to add himself to meetings with senior NSC staff where he did not add value. LTC [Y.] Vindman's substandard performance—his lack of judgment, failure to communicate well with his superiors, and inability to differentiate between legal and policy decisions—caused him to lose the trust of NSC senior leadership. … With additional counseling and experience, LTC [Y.] Vindman's performance may improve. He would benefit from additional experience in a slower paced work environment subject to less pressure and scrutiny. In time, he may become a better attorney.
Oh, did poor Robert O'Brien feel "uncomfortable" when someone pointed out that misuse of government resources is both unethical and illegal? How sad!
Politico, which broke the story of Vindman's promotion, reports that the Army "conducted an investigation and found the evaluations to not be objective ... leading to the evaluations being deleted and never making it into the official records for the promotions board to consider" according to two sources. (Lordy, it's like Purim and Passover rolled into one.)
So Vindman's name was on a list of promotions headed to the Senate for approval. Unfortunately, the honor comes too late for his brother, who retired from the military last summer after Sen. Tammy Duckworth threatened to hold up all promotions above lieutenant colonel if Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wouldn't assure her in writing that the White House hadn't intervened to keep Alex Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient with shrapnel in his body from an IED attack in Iraq, off the list — an assurance she never got.
@AVindman’s turn to get his Eagles. Perhaps someone can sponsor a bill?— Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman (@Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman)1615895686.0
"I am deeply grateful for the trust and confidence the U.S. Army and Judge Advocate Generals Corps have placed in me with selection to promotion to Colonel," Vindman said in a statement released through his lawyer Mark Zaid. "They stood their ground despite intense pressure during the last Administration. I look forward to continuing my service to the U.S. Army and the Nation in positions of increasing responsibility."
Because here right matters. Eventually.
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We are so not surprised.
Former Army Ranger Jessica Watkins, a member of the MAGA mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, claims she was there as a very special guest of the twice-impeached thug. Watkins's attorney dropped the details in court filings arguing for her release on bond as she awaits trail.
"On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally, to provide escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol as directed by the then-President, and to safely escort protestors away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest," the court filing said on Saturday. "She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to provide security for the speakers. At the time the Capitol was breached, she was still at the site of the initial rally where she had provided security."
Watkins is a member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia. Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Oath Keepers as an extremist group. Secret Service agents meeting Watkins and letting her within 50 feet of the stage where the one-term loser was set to speak is an incredible security failure, but President Klan Robe considers the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and any rightwing militia “his people." And he's right.
The Secret Service officially disavowed knowledge of Watkins's actions. Her attorney, Michelle Peterson, insists she wasn't violent during the Capitol siege, even though Watkins boasted on Parler that she and fellow militia members “stood our ground and drew the line" against Capitol Hill police.
"Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today," she wrote in one message posted to the social app Parler. "Teargassed, the whole 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today."
Back in December, disgraced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had shouted on rightwing media about the one-term loser invoking the Insurrection Act and imposing martial law so he could remain president forever. Peterson alleges Watkins and other MAGA supporters believed this would happen and they "would have a role if this were to happen." The one-term loser's Big Lie had convinced these suckers they were upholding law and order.
"However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the lawful government. She took an oath to support the Constitution and had no intention of violating that oath or of committing any violent acts."
Watkins's counsel is arguing a familiar “deranged president made me do it" defense. The twice-impeached loser and most elected Republicans are hanging these fools out to dry, insisting they acted on their own without incitement from the so-called commander-in-chief. But the defense is correct that Watkins and her fellow conspirators would've never shown up at the Capitol if not for the mad king's rhetoric. It still seems odd that the same guy who pitched stuffed crust pizza with his Zsa Zsa Gabor-knockoff wife could command an army, but he did have help from spineless congressional Republicans and a rightwing media that enabled his fascist Big Lie.
"In November, [Watkins] believed that the President of the United States was calling upon her and her small militia group to support the President and the Constitution and she was ready to serve her Country in that manner," according to their latest filing.
In fairness to the mob, it's not like they heard hidden messages in Beatles songs that weren't actually there. The previous White House squatter wasn't subtle in his declarations for an uprising against what he falsely claimed was a stolen election.
Watkins, who served in Afghanistan, is transgender, which is only relevant because her attorney claims she's been "treated harshly" and is at "particular risk in custody." In a motion she filed for Watkins's home detention, Peterson said Watkins was "forced out of the military after her sexual orientation was discovered." (It's unclear if Peterson is conflating sexual orientation with gender identity.)
In the petition, Watkins alleged that while in a county jail in Ohio, she was stripped naked and left "in a cell with lights on 24 hours a day for 4 days in full view of everyone." According to the attorney, that was a response to a hunger strike Watkins went on in a failed attempt to get medical attention for an injury to her arm
That's horrific. No one deserves that, even if they committed several felonies on behalf of a man who revels in such cruelty. I don't want her jetting off to Mexico for a “retreat," but she's not an immediate threat if confined safely in her home until trial.
Also, as a cis straight guy I am not into implying LGBTQ+ people should believe a certain way, but Evan is one of the letters of LGBTQ+ and he says "If she was kicked out of the military for being trans and then she went to war for fucking Trump anyway? YIKES."
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It's your post-impeachment Sunday show rundown!
What happened on Saturday was disappointing, yet predictable. The Senate, by a margin of 57-43, decided Donald Trump was guilty of the article of impeachment, of inciting the January 6 Capitol attack. Of course, conviction in the Senate requires 67 senators. Most of the Sunday shows hosted House managers and Democratic senators talking about the weekend's events.
The exception, of course, was patient zero of propaganda masquerading as a news channel, Fox News. And no other show gloated more about Trump's "win" that Maria Bartiromo's obnoxious show "Sunday Morning Futures."
Bartiromo hosted GOP Rep. Jim Jordan and Alan Dershowitz. Jordan began by rejoicing the victory for insurrectionists:
JORDAN: Great news for the country! I mean, remember what the Democrats were trying to do, Maria. They were trying to "cancel" the guy that 74 million Americans voted for because they didn't want him to be on the ballot, have a chance to be on the ballot, in 2024. And they were so obsessed with this going after the president, that they were willing to ignore the Constitution and willing to ignore due process [...] willing to ignore the facts, willing to doctor evidence and willing to at the last minute try to call witnesses when that made absolutely no sense to do so. So this is how focused and obsessed they've been. It was a good day for the country that the president was acquitted again.
Jim Jordan loves to hear himself speak, even if it's "Billy Madison" levels of incoherent ramblings.
To respond quickly:
- GOP Trump sycophants keep pulling out the "74 million votes" stat like that somehow justifies an insurrection against the even more impressive 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden.
- Trump could have avoided all this unpleasantness if he hadn't incited a violent mob.
- Democrats followed the Constitution and had to move quickly because Trump incited the insurrection in public, on TV, in the last few days of his presidency. The House managers presented plenty of facts and evidence to the senators who were also witnesses.
- You can't complain about not enough due process and then also complain about being offered more due process in the form of witnesses.
- Saturday was only a good day for future presidential hopefuls who are also criminals. But otherwise!
Bartiromo asked Alan Dershowitz to bring his "brilliant" legal analysis to this and he proceeded to split the acquittal baby in half:
DERSHOWITZ: I think a great day for Mitch McConnell because he taught us a civics lesson. You don't have to support President Trump or Donald Trump. You don't have to agree with his speech to support the First Amendment and to support the Constitution's limitations on the power of the Senate to put a former president on trial. McConnell accepted the constitutional argument that I've been making from the very beginning. That Congress has no power to put on trial "Citizen Trump." So it was a very good day for the Constitution, not such a great day for Donald Trump because McConnell and others criticized him. Look, the reason that they went for witnesses is that they counted the votes [...] so they threw a Hail Mary and it backfired. [...] It totally backfired, because the Trump Team said "Alright! You call one witness, we'll call ninety. We'll have depositions [...] This trial will never be over." And so they backed away and they allowed for just a stipulation to go in on a hearsay statement. The result was the right result yesterday and it was very, very good day for the Constitution.
Dersh, unlike Jordan, is a little better at giving his bullshit a thin veil of legality and reason. He's still full of shit, though. Here are just a few examples:
- The House impeached Trump while he was still president. Mitch McConnell prevented the trial from happening until after Trump was out of office.
- Dershowitz says the Trump team could have called "ninety witnesses" and forced endless depositions, which ignores that each witness called would have required a majority vote. Hit that link for more explanation of how it would have worked, but the point is that Trump's team had zero power to call more witnesses than Democrats.
- "Citizen Trump" sounds like a horrible remake of Orson Welles's masterpiece.
Dersh, Bartiromo and Jordan are not counting on people to know things or even care to know things. They praised Trump's legal team, despite how most GOP senators are such bootlickers -- a few even actively assisted Trump's defense -- that a rabid opossum could have defended Trump and achieved the same results.
Here is a final thought from Jim Jordan:
Amid a deadly pandemic and economic carnage, Jim Jordan says "cancel culture" is "the number one issue for the coun… https://t.co/YutOkuZfas— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1613317271.0
It's offensive that we ever lose to these idiots.
Have a week!
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