Tag: January 6th

Barr, Trump, and Defense Strategy

Watching the recordings of Barr’s testimony to the January 6th Select Committee I couldn’t help but think “Barr is an attorney” — I’d encountered him as the General Counsel of the company when I worked at GTE. I knew him as our attorney that led an effort to deregulate the telephone industry — but a bit of research let me to understand he was also an attorney who has been involved in a major political deal-e-o before (the Iran-Contras affair).

So when I hear Barr saying Trump was ‘detached from reality’ and that his election conspiracy theory was “silly” and “nonsense” … I hear someone setting up a defense strategy for Trump: the Tucker Carlson defense — no reasonable person would have believed these statements to be true. “I didn’t know¬† wasn’t true” is not considered a valid defense when you’ve been told by dozens of well-informed people — willful ignorance doesn’t remove culpability. Now, I don’t know that Trump will open the door Barr constructed. Detached from reality isn’t a good slogan for campaigning. And going the Carlson route would mean admitting not only that he lost in a completely fair election but also that he continued to bilk his supporters for millions of dollars by promoting his claim to the contrary.

On The Coup

We have reached a point where Dick Cheney is making an appearance on the House floor to support his daughter in her belief that attempting a coup is, well, not the pinnacle of American democracy?!?

For a long time, I absolutely believed both parties in the United States thought they were trying to do the right thing for the country. I remember going to a rally against privatizing social security — one of Bush 2’s early initiatives. The local NPR station had a reporter meandering around looking for younger people to interview — looking, specifically, for people who were worried that their retirement wouldn’t include social security. I, on the other hand, knew the history of the social security system. It was started after people lost huge sums of money — some more money than they had (thanks, leveraged buying) in a stock market downturn. The basis of social security is, essentially, that you can realize greater returns in riskier investments. But you can also lose everything in riskier investments, and this program is the backstop against “losing everything”. In that context, how is it reasonable to consider allowing individuals to direct social security funds into riskier investments because they might be able to outperform government bonds?!? But … I got it. We were decades away from the great depression, and years before the crash of 2008/2009. Most people had only experienced upward movement in the market. And the question at hand was really “is this form of insurance against stock market crashes still worth it?”. I could look at pretty much any political debate and understand how both sides had a coherent argument and viewed their position as The Right Thing To Do.

Maybe that’s still true today — but it seems like conservatives have become more adamant about forcing their will on the nation to retain power. To make money. We watched a dude on MSNBC basically admit to participating in a coup attempt not because he was ashamed of his actions. Not because he wanted to make sure everyone understood what exactly happened. But because he wanted to sell his new book. Well, mission accomplished (I guess). He’s managed to get his name out there & we all know he’s got a book. Liberals can buy it to prove there was a coup and conservatives can buy it to see “the receipts” on stealing an election. (Receipts which have been promised on multiple occasions but which have never been produced).

I’m still hopeful that the end result of this mess is a viable third (fourth, or even fifth) party. Maybe some actual fiscal conservatives (not deficit spending dumped into the military industrial complex v/s tax for domestic spending). Some democratic socialist party that makes Bernie seem pretty middle-of-the-road.