Monthly Archives: March 2022

Let’s Talk A Little About Steve Bannon, Putin and The Future of Global Fascism

Sometimes I feel pretty fucking clever when I’ve sussed out that America is about to enter into its second dalliance with fascism and its characteristics. It will be Christian, white, and male-centric. Like Jello Biafra said once, it’s bedtime for democracy and there is no telling when it will wake up.

Now it’s awfully hard to believe that Steve Bannon, who looks like some weird mixture of Baron Harkonnen from Lynch’s Dune and a wino, is of any particular threat to American democracy. It’s almost hilarious that he has Mike Lindell on his “War Room” on the regular. He’s probably facing jail time soon, depending on how much he pisses a judge off by turning his contempt trial into a media circus.

However, as far as the right wing goes, he’s the daddy-o of American neo-fascism, or populism, or nationalism, whatever you want to call it. And when he fell out with Trump, he moved on to bigger and better things. After the White House, he went abroad to spread the populist word, powwowing with right wing parties, dictators and autocrats around the globe. He’s a Putinist, and I guess now is a great time to introduce a notorious living Russian fascist, often referred to as “Putin’s Brain”, Aleksandr Dugin. (More on the Dugin-Putin relationship here). The guy appears to be completely insane, a mad monk advocating for a Russian empire that stretches all the way to Ireland. I am sure that Putin, while a little touched in the head himself, listens to Alex’s counsel, smiles in his mind, takes the good parts and leaves out the absurd. He did come up with the idea of annexing Crimea, and thinks Russia should treat Ukraine as theirs, which they have done de facto by invading and robbing Ukraine of its ability to trade freely. I’m not going to get into an argument with any of you chuckleheads out there who seem to have no clue about military tactics and realpolitik, the end game of this invasion is that Russia gets good cream and lots of political leverage over the rest of the world from Ukraine’s food and energy markets. And there isn’t shit the West can or will do about it. (UPDATE 4/2: Zelenskyy isn’t giving up territory for peace, and NATO is now sending deadlier assets. He’s either going down with the ship, or this is going to be Afghanistan II: The Return Of The Bear Trap.)

Anyway, back to this character Dugin for a minute. He is quoted as saying, “We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society”. Sound familiar? That’s word for word what the Republican Party in America has come to stand for. Coming from the mouth of a Russian fascist. A “traditionalist”. Democracy, liberalism, and individualism are all anathema to his thinking, a refutation of the principles of America’s revolutionary ideas. He said of Putin as early as 2007: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable.” It’s not dissimilar to the cult of personality that surrounds Trump, or any other “strongman” who can control people. The main difference between Putin and Dugin, is that one is pragmatic and one is a romantic. He wanted Putin to take Georgia as well as Ukraine. Putin took the chunks he could hold, probably knowing from Hitler at Stalingrad that when you spread yourself too thin, you will get your ass kicked. He believes that COVID is a “kind of divine reprimand, a divine decree against humanity.” and “It is a kind of punishment for globalization.” Dugin attacks the arts and the schools for their decadent thoughts (again, sound familiar?), even finding physics and chemistry to be “demonic”. The man is a mystic, looking for signs of the apocalypse.

So let’s circle back to Bannon: what’s the connection between him and Dugin? Well, they met once, in 2018, in Rome. While they agreed philosophically, the meeting did not go well, as Dugin was focused on the United States as the great evil, and Bannon felt it was China. I guess we should be glad they did not agree or join forces, but the idea that America is engorged with “evil” is becoming chapter and verse for more and more Republicans, no doubt to Putin and Dugin’s glee. We will be rid of Steve Bannon soon enough. But if we continue to share a traditionalist fascist destiny with Russia, then I am afraid the world over will become a dark place to practice freedom.

Annexation: Old Imperial Tactics In The New World Order

It may be time to take a fresh perspective on why Russia has recklessly invaded its neighbor Ukraine. In our hearts, we see what the war has wrought and we know it is wrong. Because war disgusts all good people. What gives Vladimir Putin the right to continually attack his neighbors without consequence? Why doesn’t somebody do something to contain them?

In his mind, history accords him that right. But I don’t think Putin is operating from a pre-WW2 mindset, as he is often accused of doing. I don’t even think he’s operating in a 2014 mindset either, Because he’s been taking little chunks from other countries for years before the Ukranian revolution. Where is Putin coming up with the justification for annexation and invasion?

In today’s carefully managed defense of territorial integrity, annexation by force is a highly unpopular move. In modernity, anyone who tries to pull it is severely disciplined by the world community. Saddam Hussein learned that when he tried to begin his ideas of a Greater Arabia by annexing Kuwait; he ended his quest dangling from a hangman’s noose. Slobodan Milosevic also had dreams of a Greater Serbia and committed genocide to achieve it; he too was executed for his crimes. The only country in the world who has not been punished for annexation per se is Israel. That’s a complicated one because the Palestinians never declared statehood, so the view seems to be that they are taking no sovereign territory. However, their occupation of the Golan Heights is definitely straining the definition of occupation and pushes closer to annexation as they continue to hold it, year after year. (UPDATE 4/6: Papa Chomsky reminded me that Trump allowed the official annexation of the Golan Heights. Oops!)

However, in the case of Putin, it’s very hard to discipline him. A bombing campaign will not stop a Russian advance, nor will a counter-invasion of Ukraine. Russia, you see, has nuclear weapons. A lot of them. And they have made it clear that any move that threatens the existence of the state will be met with annihilation. So we have to be very careful how to play this one. And the world has been. We have been pouring every low intensity asset available we can into Ukraine to make this invasion super painful for the #2 military in the world. There’s two ways this invasion can go: one is to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan II for them. This, like Afghanistan, could take years and kill millions. The other is for Ukraine to cede control of hostile areas around Ukraine that are Russian-friendly and end this terrible siege.

The second option disgusts many. Who would countenance the loss of territory like that? Would the United States cede states, as some are fond of saying?

In our case, the answer was no. But we paid a dear price to preserve our Union in the years of 1861-1865. People are still arguing about why it happened. To my mind, it was about consolidating and retaining power. Since 1776, America worked and warred its ass off to become and remain The United States. And I figure Lincoln wasn’t going to let a perfectly good union go to waste after cultivating it for almost a hundred years.

In contrast, how long has Ukraine been Ukraine? How far do you want to go back? Empires wax and wane, so let’s just start with modern Ukraine. They had a revolution in 2014 which would eventually skew Ukraine’s ties closer to Europe. As you might imagine, Russia didn’t like that at all, for reasons I’ll try to address later. They saw the revolution as a good a time as any to return Crimea to Russian control. No blood was shed, and the Ukrainians relented and allowed Crimea to become autonomous, protected and run by Russia-friendly leaders. But peace was not established yet. War broke out in the Donbas region, and two pro-Russian separatist states declared their independence from Ukraine. This time Ukraine was going to fight for its territory and subdue the rebels. And up until February 2022, they were still at war. But as we all know, Ukraine had bigger problems than Donbas. Russia began to surround Ukraine with its military, and here we are today, wondering whether World War 3 is going to start.

Ukraine had only been Ukraine for eight years, if we take the various separatist movements into account. It was a country in revolutionary flux, and Putin picked a good time to weaken it and make it something unpalatable and indefensible to Europe.

Or so he thought. We may not want to start a nuclear war, but most of the world, respectful of territorial sovereignty, has made sure that Russia will be punished by playing an old conventional game of violent imperialism. And we’re doing it without directly causing a single casualty at our hands.

There’s a lingering question though: what does Russia really want from Ukraine? You can find it in today’s papers. It is, as it has always been, “the special operation”, which Russia has invented some bullshit reasons for. Now it may look like Russia wants to eat Ukraine whole and return it to old Russia, but as you can see, they’re not getting very far if that is the plan. It’s purely a strategic move; to connect Crimea to the Donbas breakaways via land. Contiguity is what Putin wants, plus he wrests access to the Sea of Azov from Ukraine. I believe any military action not in Donbas is to distract and disperse the Ukrainian military so that it can no longer defend its eastern flank. What is the crown jewel in the special operation? Where does the connective tissue between these little secessionist republics begin?

Mariupol. As I write this, Russians have kidnapped tens of thousands of its civilians and is demanding that the city surrender. What Volodomyr Zelenskyy decides to do next will probably determine just how long Ukraine remains under siege. This is a flashpoint. Let’s say Russia wants to make a deal-ending the invasion for the surrender of Mariupol. Can they be trusted? To me, the answer is yes. They can see damn well that this war is not going to plan and they are probably eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy and deal with all of the economic, political and military fallout from the incursion. Putin will have paid heavily for his land bridge if this is the direction Ukraine wants to go. No one is going to “win” the battle for Mariupol. But as of now, Zelenskyy is holding firm, refusing to give up the city. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it will not be pretty. And if anyone really thinks the West is going to do anything about it, they’re kidding themselves. Because the reality is, Ukraine was like a DMZ to the EU and NATO. This war is still on “cold” setting, and will likely stay that way so long as Russia blunders around in the DMZ. That is a tragedy for Ukraine, and I hate it. They’ve been caught between two power blocs and a newly adventurous Russia.

So, let’s circle back to the question of just where Putin’s head is at and what year he thinks it is. To do that, we must look at the recent history of the EU and NATO, and ask ourselves if we too have been “annexing” countries by pledging to defend them. Are we playing the imperial game as well? Did World War 3 start without a shot several decades ago? In Putin’s mind, this is undeniable. For the EU and NATO, their goal is simply to defend democracy. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that. It seems obvious that the goal is to hem Russia in, ending its influence upon the states that surround it. We did that during a time when Russia was at its weakest. Just like we finally came together to bring Germany to heel, ensuring it would never be a threat to Europe again. Nothing remains of its Nazi past for continental domination. This is what we wanted from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. To ensure it would be crippled so it could not threaten the world with its weapons of mass destruction.

But Germany had to be utterly destroyed for us to stop the Nazis; it was not the way we defeated the Soviets. The USSR fell to internal pressures; we just sat back and watched it happen. A deal was made between Russia and NATO in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, and in return we would not accept former pact members into NATO. But that’s exactly what we did. The US and the Eurozone, to Putin, were “annexing” its old stomping grounds.

1991 is where Putin’s head is at. That was the year he quit the KGB and began running for office. Like it or not, he turned the country around in a lot of ways. I imagine he had grand plans to “Make Russia Great Again” and that’s what he thinks he’s doing right now. His own personal Monroe Doctrine. He’s been fucking with its neighbors ever since, trying to amass more territory and more power where he can. Whenever he sees chaos, he exploits the conflict. He saw the conflict in Ukraine. Trying to pull Ukraine into Europe’s orbit was a last straw, and he’s going to make the fledgling government pay for its eagerness to do so with land loss. And it’s doing it through old conventional imperial techniques like force. Whether he pulls off this special operation is unknown. Ukrainians have shown themselves to be tough as nails, but now we have to worry about hostages.

In no way am I excusing Putin’s actions any more than I am blaming NATO for its actions. But it’s important to dispassionately look at the possible “why?” for the invasion of Ukraine and armed with that knowledge, figure out how the hell to make it stop without blowing the world to kingdom come.

Now Is The Time To Stop Tom Cotton

Well, I’ve been waiting for this day for years. Tommy Cotton is officially eyeballing the presidency.

To Republicans, he may be the man for their times, should Trump decide not to run. He’s fairly well educated and served his country honorably. That’s more than you can say for the majority of the Republican Party. He’s certainly smarter and has more gravitas than a wannabe tough guy doofus like Ron DeSantis.

All of this is to say that makes him very dangerous. His ideas are, to put it mildly, radical as fuck. When the New York Times published a Cotton editorial in 2020 calling for the military to crack down on protestors, The Times almost lost its shirt due to the number of subscription cancellations. Went out on a limb to scotch the Iran nuclear deal. Wanted to use the Espionage Act on journalists. May have engaged in a little stolen valor by claiming to be an Army Ranger when all he did was go to Ranger school. Hates SNAP. Loves waterboarding. Steve Bannon is into him. Wants to lock up as many people as possible. Doesn’t want teachers to teach slavery. Anti-immigrant. ACA opponent. Supported Defense of Marriage. Refused to support Violence Against Women Act. Hyper anti-choice. Believes China purposefully leaked COVID-19.

All of this and more can be found elsewhere, some behind paywall journalism.

Until now, Republicans had some pretty piss poor choices for ’24. But put Cotton in there minus a Trump run and the calculus changes.

If we don’t expose this creep for who he is now, it may be too late to do so soon. Jen Psaki took the first shot today condemning his warmongering nature and just talking the talk but not walking the walk, and many need to follow. I’ve been right about his ambitions, and I suspect I will be proven right that Tom Cotton is going to be a contender.

Who Are The Election Police?

You may think that people were exaggerating when they said that Florida was creating its own “election police force” last week. You would be wrong. There is now a bureau dedicated to investigating “crimes”, and law enforcement personnel, actual cops, will be assigned to the task force. The other provisions are draconian:

The bill passed Wednesday would make it a felony to collect and submit more than two vote-by-mail ballots on behalf of other voters. It’s currently a misdemeanor to do so. It also increases the fine from $1,000 to $50,000 on organizations that violate election registration laws.

So if you help too many people get their stuff in the mail, you are a felon. And this will place a chill upon registration drives.

What do we expect? It’s Florida, ground zero for some of the most fucked-up policies in the nation on a host of issues.

Its neighbor, however, is jealous. Yep, my home state is dragging the cops into the voting process too. They want to involve the GBI in investigating fraud allegations, which I supposed could be alleged by just about anyone peripheral to the voting system. Election officials are alarmed:

Milton Kidd, who oversees elections in Douglas County, west of Atlanta, said the more direct involvement by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations could deter poll workers and voters from participating.

“Poll workers … have told me that they have moved away from the election space because they feel like these are actions that are going to come against them,” Kidd said at a recent hearing on the bill. “It’s going to have a chilling effect on voters participating in the process because, in most cases, the election issues that the secretary of state has found have been administrative issues. They’re issues that the current mechanism can actually deal with.”

There’s no telling what other swing states could conceivably copycat these new laws. But this is getting very serious, scaring voters and volunteers. Actual voter fraud was rare last go-round, and they are trying to swat a fly with a Buick here because Republicans didn’t like the results. This process should be easy. Instead, democracy is a new beat for cops to walk, truncheons swinging.

March ’22 Internet: The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

We’re only in the third month of the year, but so much is happening in the world that’s there’s bound to be some monumentally smart takes, and some monumentally dumb ones.

Today, as always for posterity, let’s look at an example of each.

One the smart side: Seth Abramson’s Substack produced a really long but super comprehensive assessment about the nature of our world as Russia continues its push through Ukraine. You will gain much if you can finish and digest that.

On the dumb side: a post that could make the Hall Of Fame Of Stupidest Fucking Tweets if there ever is one. I haven’t seen something this dumb on Twitter since Glenn Reynolds tweeted that protestors blocking streets should be run over. Here’s Peter Schiff, whoever the fuck he is, commenting on President Zelenskyy’s sartorial choices while addressing Congress as his country is being reduced to rubble:

There is no sign yet of him deleting that thought. I hope it stays so I can continue to be entertained by the fallout.

More Coordinated Violence

With the conviction of an Oath Keeper for seditious conspiracy, we are sure going forward that the Capitol break-in on January 6 was planned by at least one organization for the purpose of stopping the electoral vote count.

Now it’s members of the Proud Boys who may be charged with the same. And their leader, Enrique Tarrio is one of them.

Proud Boys are cosplayers. They actually have something called a “Ministry Of Self-Defense”. Jesus. Who do they think they are, Public Enemy? Anyway, Tarrio got himself thrown in jail before January 6 and was ordered to leave DC by January 4. However, the MOSD was still in town, readying for the rally. And Tarrio got caught sending a message to them that day to “storm the Capitol” on the 6th.

It gets better. He and Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, allegedly met in a parking garage on January 5, so Tarrio left and came back. Talk of wiping and encrypting communication devices occurred.

So we’re probably going to roll up another seditious organization. That’s great news. Merrick Garland, often accused of not doing his job well or at all, is squeezing the tube of toothpaste of this conspiracy from the bottom, building these cases on each other, and hopefully he will arrive at the top in time to nail some of the worst political criminals since Watergate, to include the former president. Because I think we all know that Trump was in on this whole thing. It’s just not provable beyond a shadow of a doubt yet.

But there’s some forward movement on that front. Hard working Allison Gill, a member of the podcast Mueller, She Wrote, has discovered something veeery interesting in the Tarrio filing.

Remember that tweet? Sure you do.

That was December 19, 2020. Tarrio began his secret MOSD messaging group December 20.

What can we infer from this? That Donald Trump masterminded January 6? It still must be proven. Masterminds are tricky creatures; they keep many layers of conspirators between them and the crime. So keep the faith. And remember the maxim: the wheels of justice turn slowly. But when they grind, anyone caught between them is truly fucked.

The Energy Boat Is Sinking, And We’re Going Down With It

Now that President Biden has shut America’s door to Russian energy, the public has responded with great zeal. Anyone with a soul knows the Russkies are awful and we shouldn’t give them money. We have scored a small moral victory over a giant tyrant. Prices will be going up with the loss of their contribution, but many are prepared to put up with some more squeeze of their wallets.

A lot of Americans will now be turning to a new enemy: the domestic oil sector. They want oil execs in the stocks now for price gouging because filling their tank and going grocery shopping has suddenly gotten rather pricey while they and their shareholders rake in billions. Who can blame them? There are so many struggling Americans out there and it seems obscene that it should happen, that so few should get so rich while hundreds of millions get poor. It is obscene. Let’s call it what it is.

So how do we stop the profiteering? Or how do we mitigate the damage from it?

The most radical idea would be to nationalize the energy industry. No profit making industry should have so much power over a nation. Chances of this happening: 0%. So let’s move on.

We could cap prices or make them graduate increases. Make it so they can wet their beak, but take a chill in kicking the customer’s ass. It may not work, because of the speed of these price increases. Companies would chafe under the caps as they watch a lot of money left on the table. Still, it’s the least worst idea I can think of for all parties.

Another idea I’ve seen floating around is penalizing companies found to by hyperprofiting while demand is so high and supply is so short. This sounds good, but if you remove too much of their profit, their incentive to expand their business shrinks. To retain profitability, they will take more wells offline. That equals even higher prices, and dependence on imports.

Another option would be to somehow force companies to produce to lower prices. The feasibility of this approach is questionable. Again, the need to profit is in the way here. If unable to, these business will do anything from shrinking to closing, throwing people out of work. Sounds like a recipe for catastrophe to me.

There’s a few other options. Two of them are actually savory.

Subsidies.

We could lend or outright offer oil companies public money to open the taps. That doesn’t sit well with most, as they are already doing quite well without jacking up our national debt.

The other way we could do a subsidy is give consumers a one time payment to offset the higher gas prices. A little stimulus, say $500 at least would satisfy a lot of angry Americans.

The final option, which would take some time to achieve, is fucking green the goddamn energy mix.

Now that we have discussed what we are doing and could do to stop the price pain, let’s dig into the other reasons why gas prices are so high. You’re gonna hate me for this, but there are exculpatory reasons for oil companies’ reluctance to produce and grow. By now, you have already heard that thousands of leases for drilling remain unused. The kneejerk reaction to that is to demand that they get to drilling. However, there remain systemic problems within the industry inhibiting growth. This article here is highly instructive. I’m gonna quote a lot of it because it’s important, but you should read the whole thing.

U.S. shale production is back in growth mode, but inflation and supply chain bottlenecks could hobble the growth trajectory this year despite the tempting economics of $100 oil.

Yet, cost inflation, labor and equipment shortages, and continued restraint in spending and drilling from the biggest public independents could slow output growth.

EOG Resources president and chief operating officer Billy Helms noted that there are a lot of headwinds for the U.S. shale patch to ramp up activity and grow production this year.

Equipment and labor constraints are some of those headwinds, Helms said on the call, giving as examples challenges in attracting workers for the drilling and frac stages and the fact that “most of the good equipment is already under employment today.”

“And hopefully, the industry can strengthen and get better on a go-forward basis. But this year is going to be a challenging year from that side,” said Helms.

Over the past weeks, other shale producers and oilfield services providers have flagged headwinds to this year’s growth. For example, frac sand in the biggest shale play, the Permian, is in short supply, threatening to slow drilling programs at some producers and sending sand prices skyrocketing. This adds further cost pressure to American oil producers, who are already grappling with cost inflation in equipment and labor shortages.  

$100 oil could unleash a lot more U.S. oil production, in theory, but supply chain constraints and record-high sand prices are likely to temper growth, analysts say.

It would seem that the industry is experiencing a bit of paralysis, and that’s factoring into low output.

This next part is chilling:

Supply chain and cost inflation aside, the largest public independents in the U.S. shale patch are not racing to pump too much crude, even at $100 oil.

EOG Resources, for example, guides for crude and condensate production in the range of 455,000 to 467,000 bopd for 2022, compared to 443,000 bopd for 2021, suggesting that one of the biggest listed independents follows the other public shale firms in pledging to cap growth and return more cash to shareholders.

Pioneer Natural Resources, the biggest oil producer in the Permian, will not open the taps and will stick to discipline even at $200 oil, says chief executive Scott Sheffield.  

“Whether it’s $150 oil, $200 oil, or $100 oil, we’re not going to change our growth plans,” Sheffield told Bloomberg Television in an interview last month.  

Now here is where I’m listening that we institute a cap on prices. Because they’re berserk if they think the economy can do $200 a barrel oil.

Basically, the energy industry is going to bring the globe to its knees, partly by design, partly by circumstance. There are no easy answers. What seems clear is that we have not really gotten far up to the summit of this rollercoaster ride. You may see shit people have never seen in the coming months and years.

How To Hurt The Russians Without Shooting

I’m going to attempt a triple lutz here and try and answer a much asked question these days: how the fuck do we stop buying Russian oil?

Well, I’m afraid the hard answer is to stop our insane hunger for oil itself. We’re talking about a massive restructuring of the energy mix in the United States. Solar. Wind. Maybe a little nuclear. Obviously there is no such thing as eliminating petroleum use, it simply makes too many products that are useful and necessary to modern life. But we could also learn how to travel more responsibly. More mass transit like buses and rail, and perhaps electric cars that are affordable.

Joe Biden and the Democrats tried to begin this restructuring with the Build Back Better Act. It was stomped by Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin. It would be my guess that all of these creeps are on the take from dirty industry, who by the way, are enjoying the Russian/Ukrainian war. You see, uncertainty makes markets do funny things, and war and all the economic sanctions we’ve thrown at Russia have caused volatility in the oil market, causing it to reach heights above $100 a barrel. There’s also renewed demand from a wind-down of the COVID scare, and not a lot of supply out there to meet it. And no one in the oil industry anywhere has any interest in increasing supply because they are enjoying record profits. This includes American oil producers, believe it or not. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen, but our dumbassed free market system allows it.

Now what would happen if we shut Russia out of our market? They are the #2 producer of oil in the world and have plenty of gas for themselves. They are in the export business, and we get about 3 percent of our oil from them because of our thirst for the stuff. Chances are, if we drop Russia as a supplier, we’d see more pronounced pain at the pump, and increased prices due to higher transportation costs. That’s not good. Survivable, but not good. It’s also politically difficult because people have been propagandized to reflexively believe it’s all the president’s fault. But consider the plight of Europe, who is under direct threat from an expanding Russia. They import sixty percent of their oil from Russia. Talk about being fucked. The simple fact is, no one with an advanced economy can kick Russia out of the global market. I suspect they will find other takers for our 3% if they are rebuffed.

No matter how you slice it, the lesson we all must ultimately learn from the Russian/Ukraine war is that we need a global energy revolution. As it is, we’re heating up the planet, but the turn away from fossil fuels has geo-strategic importance. If we can just have some resolve to change the way we live, we don’t have to rely on tyrants for fuel. It could even stop American militaristic adventures for black gold, which means more happy mothers whose sons didn’t die for a lie.

I like the sound of that.

Lawyer Down

If the news about who plotted the January 6th sedition was merely walking, in horse terms it has begun to trot. Yesterday, an Oath Keeper plead guilty to conspiracy and is ready to roll to assist in other prosecutions.

Anyway, John Eastman is now fully in the Select Committee’s crosshairs. You remember John, right? He was Trump’s counsel, and an author of one of possibly several roadmaps drafted that would enable Trump to retain the presidency. They want the rest of his emails, and might well get them-they are not subject to attorney client privilege anymore. To whet the appetite of the district court, the committee released an email Eastman sent to Pence’s lawyer, telling him to have his client violate The Electoral Count Act on the 6th, which in Eastman’s diseased head was unconstitutional.

The committee may be shooting for the moon here-if there’s a whiff of conspiracy, Donald Trump himself may be ensnared for that. He also may be liable for fraud in his effort to portray the election as rigged. I suppose we should not get too far ahead of ourselves here, because even if there is a criminal referral to the DOJ, any prosecution forthcoming from one would need to be airtight as fuck, which seems to be the standard for anything that Garland is working on, unless you’re the sort that believes he’s not working on anything hard, which I very much doubt. I’m no lawyer, but I do understand that there is some complexity to making sure a victory is attained, one that can’t be turned over on appeal.

I look forward to my metaphorical horse speeding up to a canter.

We Got One

What with the twin blights of Omicron and the invasion of Ukraine, sometimes it’s easy to forget that a bunch of maniacs overran the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. It’s retreated to the background; there have been no referrals for criminal conduct besides contempt coming from the House January 6 Select Committee. The attempts to make sense of the attack have slowed or stopped. I’m no longer seeing too many people trying to piece together the chain of events.

Until today. We nailed one of the participants on seditious conspiracy and he’s talking to avoid further time.

Joshua James, a 34-year-old Arab man, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. The maximum penalty for each crime is 20 years in federal prison.

As part of his plea agreement, other charges against him were dismissed and the government agreed to not charge him with any additional crimes in connection with Capitol breach. James agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and testify in future court proceedings regarding the Capitol riots.

Here’s where it gets juicy. We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that part of that crowd came for violence to delay the certification of the election. Was it part of THE plan? Et tu, Roger Stone? We may know more when this cretin starts singing.

The seditious conspiracy indictment alleged that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, James other co-defendants and others conspired to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021.

In his guilty plea, James, a military veteran, admitted that, from November 2020 through January 2021, he conspired with other Oath Keeper members and affiliates to use force to prevent, hinder and delay the execution of the laws of the United States governing the transfer of presidential power. He used encrypted and private communications, equipped himself with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and was prepared to answer a call to take up arms.

Ten more of these huckleberries will be facing similar charges in the future. One of them is the leader of the Oathkeepers, Stewart Rhodes. Sedition charges are rare-but it underscores how serious the threat was to our government that day. We can only hope that they can tell us more about whether or not they were encouraged or instructed by other actors. Perhaps they operated as a cell, free to plan their own mayhem. Then again, if they blab about coordination, maybe we get some evidence on someone nearer to the Trump circle.

It’s a new day for the truth about the 6th.

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