Not with a bang, but a whimper?

The stakes are high for the November election, not just for stopping the Republiclowns reactionary agenda, but even in learning what Mueller has uncovered.  As Darren Samuelsohn notes in Politico:

Mueller…must notify his Justice Department supervisor — currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — on his budgeting needs and all “significant events” made by his office, including indictments, guilty pleas and subpoenas.

When Mueller is finished, he must turn in a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” — essentially why he chose to bring charges against some people but not others. His reasoning, according to veterans of such investigations, could be as simple as “there wasn’t enough evidence” to support a winning court case.

Then, it will be up to DOJ leaders to make the politically turbo-charged decision of whether to make Mueller’s report public.

He notes that in previous investigations, one or more years transpired before reports were complete.  Bottom line, it will be up to a Democratic majority in the House to conduct a public investigation for us to see all the evidence.

The Siegfried State of the Union

trumpsinging The vote to release of the House Intelligence Committee’s “secret” memo (and the vote to suppress Dem committee members’ minority report. The pressure on, resignation of, and subsequent humiliation of FBI Deputy Director McCabe, and the GOP and right wing media echo chamber’s FBI/Secret Society/Conspiracy Du Jour smearing of Mueller, while Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors marches forward to a steady drumbeat….it feels operatic.  Will Trump stay ‘on script’ tonight, dutifully reading the teleprompter to media acclaim of his presidential and dignified address, or will we get the shrieking Valkyrie, calling doom upon his enemies?

More likely, given the low bar he (and his spiritual predecessor Bush) established,  he will mumble incoherently through a journeyman address, then go crazy tomorrow in the AM and tweet doom upon his enemies from the toilet.

Sadly, we’re still suffering through the Seigfried stage of the Ring Cycle, with the protagonist seemingly unstoppable, and we still have a ways to go before we watch his downfall in the Gotterdammerung, following the 2018 elections, victory of the Dems and subsequent impeachment hearings.

 

Is a special counsel for Trump-Russia really the best option??

(*tap, tap… is this thing still on?*)

As shown by the lack of posts from me here since Inauguration Day, I’ve had a hard time finding anything useful to say about the unprecedented dishonesty, unprecedented corruption, and unprecedented incompetence of the Trump administration.  There’s plenty of folks with bigger megaphones to decry the wrongness of their latest specific missteps, and the sheer unpredictability of Trump’s whims made it difficult to take a longer view.

But I’ve finally found a point where I dissent from the progressive consensus, so it feels like I should weigh in.  In the justified firestorm of outrage after Jim Comey’s firing as FBI director, the central demand among Democrats in Congress — and progressives in general — has been for the naming of a special prosecutor (or, to be technically accurate, a special counsel) to take control of the FBI’s investigation of connections between Russia and President Trump’s election campaign.

Being sufficiently old to remember previous investigations of Republican presidents, though, I wonder if that’s really the best thing to demand.  First of all, calling for a special counsel seems like an all-or-nothing bet on exactly who is named to do the job. If a loyal GOP hack whose highest priority is to neuter the investigation is picked (as happened when Joseph DiGenova was named to investigate the first Bush administration’s 1992 search for dirt on Bill Clinton), the pressure and demands will have backfired completely.

The independence and capability of the special counsel who is named will depend almost completely on the integrity of the person doing the picking — in this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was either complicit in or exploited by the process of Comey’s firing.  And if Rosenstein has enough of a conscience and a spine to appoint a genuinely aggressive special counsel, why not simply let Rosenstein continue to oversee the existing FBI investigation?

Even in the best-case scenarios, special counsels going after GOP presidents have led to often-delayed investigations and meager results.  Patrick Fitzgerald was named in December 2003 to find out who leaked Valerie Plame’s covert CIA identity; it took almost two years to indict Scooter Libby, and another year and a half to get a conviction… which was promptly wiped away by George W. Bush’s commutation of the sentence before Scooter had served a single day.  Similarly, the Iran-Contra probe by Lawrence Walsh dragged on for six years, and had its key convictions overturned on appeal and remaining prosecutions erased by G.H.W. Bush’s Xmas eve pardons (bit of a family tradition there, eh?).

Is that really the route we want the Trump-Russia investigation to take?

I’m all in favor of pressure tactics to force an independent probe, but I think perhaps we should be pushing for a genuinely bipartisan congressional investigation, as well as whatever can be done to shield the existing FBI probe(s) from Trumpian influence.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert about all of the alternative processes (including those I just mentioned), but it seems to me that the goal is to get as much information irrevocably out in public as soon as possible — and the hard lesson of experience seems to be that special counsels don’t provide this result.

The USA is your free speech zone…and how to keep it that way.

free-speech-zoneDuring the dark days of the Bush Reign of Error, the much ridiculed Commander-in-Chimp kept pesky protesters from his photo ops by establishing ‘free speech zones,’ always far from the event, citing ‘safety concerns.’  In the wake of 9/11, cowed gaggles of protesters would let themselves be herded into these rings surrounded by police storm-troopers armed for bear.

We seem to be in for more of the same, with the National Park Service moving to bar protesters from major routes and sites in D.C. during Inauguration Day, where massive protests are planned all weekend.

You can’t blame The Walking Orange Turd for that, but have no doubt he will resurrect and expand on Bush’s unconstitutional infringement of our rights.

Fuck him, I say, and fuck the National Park Service.  This is the United States of Fucking America, and we will march and protest where we damn well please!  “Fine words,” you say, “but how do you get around the Storm-Troopers?”

I’m glad you asked!  Planning, preparation & subterfuge.  Here is an example.  Say The Man prohibits protesters from the National Mall by surrounding it with a thin blue line, vigilantly looking for ‘the usual suspects’ such as dirty hippies to bust and whisk away from the event.  This leads to the first rule:

Disguise. Don’t look like dirty hippies.  Dress normally.  Even dress up a bit.  Who suspects a guy or gal wearing business casual? Don’t carry obvious signs  have folks queued up to bring your group signs once you are in position.  Disguise will also help you if they try to catch you and you need to disappear into the crowd.

How do you get through the Storm-Troopers?  At a big event, they are truly spread thinly around the periphery of the action.  To get through them you need to ‘thin the herd,’ create weak points, penetrate those and establish a beachhead.  To do this you need to:

Create a Diversion.  The Man can’t generate new cops out of thin air.  If something is happening elsewhere, say on steps of the Supreme Court, or elsewhere on Capital Hill, The Man will need to peel off some squads of Storm Troopers to investigate.  The more locations that need to be covered, the more precious members of the Blue Man Group they will need to remove from the thin blue line.  Inevitably and eventually, gaps will appear.

Buying Time.  You’ve got a great diversion going, but your infiltration team will need time, and it doesn’t take long to bust the Diversion Teams.  You need to jam things up on the trips to and from the diversion sites.  Map the likely routes away from the National Mall to the Diversion sites and have a Mobile Team ready with cars that suffer mysterious breakdowns in the roads on the way there or way back to stymie traffic.  “No, we aren’t protesters, I think my battery died, Officer!”

Infiltrate the Gaps.  Your infiltration team should be the best disguised, with Trump teeshirts and Make America Great again caps.  They should be on the lookout for gaps in the line.  When they spot one, they call the reinforcement team.  One group should do a mini-Diversion, as the remaining Storm-Troopers rush to push off the first team, while the other teams use the opportunity to bust the line.

Beachhead.  Once one or more teams have broken through the line, it is time to sit down, lie down, possibly chain together.   While you have The Man’s entire attention, the Reinforcements should soon arise, bearing signage, megaphones, etc., and join the Beachhead.

Keep the Diversion going. Remaining free members of the original Diversion Teams need to stay mobile, and make a happening in new locations, keeping the Storm-Troopers occupied away from the National Mall.  The fewer there are at the event, the longer the protest will last, the more Reinforcements can arrive, etc.

There are many different approaches that can be tried, but this in a nutshell is a tried-and-true way for us to stay out of “free speech zones” and bring the noise directly to The Man.