Altercation: By the usual standards of American politics, most January 6 witnesses would be a disgrace

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write in The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg points out that many people celebrated for telling the truth about Trump at the Jan. 6 Committee are terribly late to the ball. She cites, among others, former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, who was hired as a China hawk in the Trump administration and worked, as she notes, “from the beginning until January 7, 2021. He was one of many who did not resign over Trump’s defense of rioters in Charlottesville, Va., his attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, or his claims to have won an election that ‘he clearly lost, to name a few milestones. Given the crimes of the Trump administration to which Pottinger and his colleagues have managed to turn a blind eye, it seems almost trivial to point out that the very act of which Pottinger declared himself most proud under his leadership was both a moral and strategic disaster.

According the report of the hearings, Pottinger, now at the Hoover Institution, said: “For example, in late December, the Iranian government attacked the United States Embassy in Baghdad. They did it by using some of their terrorist proxies… [Trump] sent a very clear warning to the Ayatollah and his regime, which I think had a useful effect.

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Here, Pottinger was apparently bragging about Trump’s decision to go ahead with the assassination of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani and nine others, including the deputy leader of the Iraqi-backed militia movement. Iran, at Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. If I had more space, and if we lived in a more normal time when our biggest problem was, say, a presidency characterized by ideological obsession and dishonesty purpose leading us to counterproductive wars – like the Johnson, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, among others – I would spend a lot more time on these incidents: how they happened, what they mean and to whom we should never be trusted again because of their dishonesty. Instead, I’m going to suggest you read about them, as you can read about the aftermath of Soleimani’s murder here and here, because these are, surprisingly, the least of our problems. (And yes, I’ve written two books that sort of talk about that: Lying in the state and When Presidents Lieand that’s enough.)

What the Committee’s eighth hearing on January 6 demonstrated most conclusively last Thursday was that Donald Trump sought to subvert the country’s electoral system before the vote was certified, and when that strategy was failed, he encouraged the violent mob he had summoned to the capital to do so by violent means, until the murder of his vice-president. Trump did nothing, as President Biden said, to stop them. He did all he could to encourage them, finally giving in only when their failure was recognized. As Notes by Amy Davidson Sorkin: Trump “sat in a dining room near the Oval Office, watched Fox News and called senators to tell them that they had to oppose the election results, in other words, that they had to give in to the demands of the crowd. (He called Rudy Giulaniso did his attorney.) He also pushed back on calls from various officials to end the violence and instead aired what White House attorney Pat Cipolline described in videotaped testimony as a “terrible tweet” targeting the vice president. Mike Pencewho was chased by the mob.

We are literally one election away from deliberately destroying our system of government and replacing it with the equivalent of a mafia state.

Trump had previously championed the plan to kill Pence in his August 2020 interview with Jonathan Swan, but we’re so used to his sociopathic criminality that it turned out to be a one-day story. Now Swan is back with a two-part series based on in-depth reporting on Trump and his allies’ plans for a second term, whether he wins or – much more likely – manages to steal the 2024 election. first part is hereand the second part is here.

The hearings, combined with Swan’s stories, make it clear that we are literally one election away from deliberately destroying our system of government and replacing it with the equivalent of a mafia state, run by far more stupid and evil people. than those who ran the mafia. Indeed, they tell us what other putschists and would-be autocrats generally have the good sense to keep to themselves.

Given what we already know, I am unable to find any historical precedent for a democratic nation deliberately inviting such a man and his followers to return to the scene of their previous crimes and commit far worse. Read Lynn Hunt’s review of a biography of Robespierre in The New York Book Review, I came across his description of his “special hold on his fellow MPs”. She asked, “How could this unprepossessing and hitherto unknown lawyer be able to embody the Revolution at its most intense?“Hunt’s question got me thinking about Jeffrey Clarkthe guy Trump will likely make his attorney general if he’s returned to office, not to mention what will happen to the country with an entire government filled with the likes of Jeffrey Clark.

I’m no expert on German political history, but I wonder if people knew as much about Hitler and his cronies before allowing him (democratically) to come to power as we know about Trump and his cronies. (I know, I know, Trump is not Hitler. Nobody is anyone else. And he probably won’t kill millions of Jews, gypsies and gays and start a series of ruinous wars – unless, of course, he comes to believe it is somehow in his interest to do so…) My point, ladies and gentlemen, as Mark Danner puts it: “We are in an emergency—act like this!

For example, it would be nice if items like this one mentioned the Republican candidate’s support for the destruction of our democracy somewhere, anywhere in the article. (I know, an informative title is way too much to ask.)

And it would be nice if the Time‘ The most famous political journalist – the one with 1.6 million Twitter followers and a massive bestselling book in the works – would stop fighting for Trump enablers like Jared Kushner, only a little less mean and stupid. For example, as last week’s hearing aired, Maggie Haberman wanted us to know that “while dining at a restaurant in upstate Rhinebeck, NY, [she] sat next to Charlie Kushner, father of Jared Kushner, who put his son on speaker phone to say hello to the servers.

She also felt moved to observe: “Committee really shows who he disdains through certain sequences. An example tonight was the Kushner shower clip,” as if the injustice to this poor half of the “Sources Close to the President” couple committed by the committee by mentioning he was in the shower during the attempted hit of state of their father was in a way the most important. facet of the various horror stories that hit the nation that night. I fear for the book…


Meanwhile, Trump’s Republican strategy change the subject on their lies, lawlessness and incitement to violence continues to be “I know you are, but what am I?» as evidenced by the wacky quotes reported in this piece. The thing is, it (mostly) works. But my problem here is with this sentence penned by David Weigel: “The rhetoric is invigorating, if not entirely new. Liberal commentators have made liberal use of the word “fascism” to describe Trump’s presidency. Note that he does not argue – and cannot without compromising his objective – whether the use of the word is appropriate. So I have a few questions for Mr. Weigel:

  1. David, is your compatriot David, Mr. Frum, also one of these “liberals”? Because if not, what this?
  2. And what about the case itself? Are the items like this one and this one and this one all deserving of your lighthearted dismissal?
  3. And while we’re at it, is it also worthy of mockery when discussing the beliefs of Pierre Thiel and its puppet politicians in Ohio and Arizona?

I am truly saddened to see that Weigel, a smart and hardworking journalist, has now volunteered to catch this Beltway bug. He does not address the issue. He calls it de facto ridiculous (and therefore unworthy of discussion). This type of reporting is one of the reasons why, in a roughly 50/50 country, we could end up with a fascist government in 2024: because the people responsible for exposing it claim that there is no not.

Tips

Talking about each other (or “over-the-onehandism”, as I once tried and failed to name the phenomenon), when you lost Marvin KalbWhat do you have left?


here is a hermetic argument against allowing self-serving anonymous quotes that only advance a politician’s agenda by lazy political reporters in a single tweet.


Altercation Life Tips: People need to spend more time thinking about their obituaries. Imagine making “report” like this is your job in life. Consider, for example: “Ashley Joy Parker Deceased; Ben Affleck’s Broke Story taking a nap.


Many readers have no doubt seen snippets of this already, but here is the entirety of Joni Mitchell’s re-emergence as a performer after a 20-year absence, with Brandi Carlile at the Newport Folk Festival, three years after suffering a brain aneurysm. (“Both Sides Now” is the only form of bilateralism that we at Altercation can support.) Bonus: here and here is Paul Simon, retired from touring but not a guest, also at this year’s festival. And hereHe’s a guy who made a lot of noise by bringing a band and an electric guitar to the festival in 1965. Barry Goldberg was there. And Elijah Wald wrote a beautiful book on its implications.

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