11 January 2021

Late-to-the-Party Link Sausage Platter

After Saturday's failure of aspiration, I'm not even going to try: Everything here will still relate back to last Wednesday's coup attempt. And everything here will have at least a bit of the <SARCASM> tag to it, too.

  • During That Phone Call, the Orange One demanded 11,780 votes be "found." Apparently, I'm much better at finding things like that than the Secretary of State of Georgia, because I've found two sources — and none of these voters can be interviewed by that enemy of the people the media. They don't even have active Faceplant or Birdnoise feeds! There are just about 12,000 of them here, in one county. But if you want to do more than just squeak by, there are even more in a single precinct.
  • "But what was I supposed to do? Call him [out] for cheating better than me in front of the others?" Well, Orange One, you did… and it hasn't worked out so well yet, has it? Unfortunately, The Sting was also parallel in another sense: The likely response to the cheating not working included assaulting someone, establishing a honey-pot trap, and then attempting to kill someone. And the impetus (the first half-hour of the film) arose from white-collar-crime-on-white-collar-crime (no heroes here!)… instigated in part by a Black man…

    In this instance, stacking the deck in advance voter-roll suppression in advance proved insufficient when the "other side" anticipated it. I have no doubt that the number of actual cast-vote-fraud/error instances is greater than zero — there were well over 150 million votes cast, and just last week we saw that enough people think they're rightful winners no matter what the facts that saying "absolutely zero" is not credible. The key point, though, is that for whatever small number of such actual instances there were… some were in Drumpf's favor. The result in the presidential election wouldn't be changed by them. It's far more likely that the Georgia vote results would have been much worse for Drumpf had the Heffalump state mechanisms not worked so hard to disenfranchise eligible Black and Latino and other immigrant/immigrant-ancestry voters; we can see the results one state to the south. Even if, as it turns out, Georgia is not a rotten borough. (Ironically, for a while, I lived in a historical rubber button and next to another one.)

  • Then, too, there is the question of appropriate consequences for co-conspirators. Two of the most prominent clearly have arguments regarding "legislative immunity." Unfortunately. That doesn't, however, insulate their professional standing from examination. Indeed, it's arguable that their ethical duties as lawyers are even greater as elected officials than when merely "in practice." Or, at least, should be, and would be if the obvious corollary of professionalism — that one upholds the standards of a profession 24/7/365.24, not just weekdays from 9 to 5 (actually, about 2:30 in order to get to the golf course and fundraising dinners) — was actually enforced by the profession.

    But what about free speech? And isn't there the danger of a slippery slope, so that hypothetically a politician calling for investigation of electoral issues in Maricopa County would also be subject to inappropriate sanctions? Leaving aside the don't-have-any-facts-in-hand nature of these arguments, it's a free-market transaction: Professionals choose to accept that condition. I accepted Article 88 and abided by it during a dark period in American politics (that, disturbingly, also involved an imperialistic executive asserting powers it did not have against Congress). The other problem with this kind of slippery-slope argument is that it presumes that an accusation is the same thing as a penalty… and that the penalty is the equivalent of the death penalty. I'm not saying any of this is easy; I'm only saying that maybe — just maybe — if the constipated old white men who adopted the post-Watergate ethics rules had actually enforced them (instead of, too often, engaging in "there but for the grace of billable hours go I" evasions and refusals to enforce those rules against those who looked like them, or at least like their protegés) there might be a lower incidence of lawyers whose "client advocacy" for quasi-popular clients merited… examination.

  • Last for the nonce, and far from least, is the appropriate response. An article of impeachment has been introduced in the House; that article is wholly unsatisfactory. The fundamental problem is at page 3, line 11: Rather than explicitly connecting the alleged (and actual, but I'm looking at this from a procedural point of view) incitement to the actual circumstances, it vaguely states that the statements The Orange One made "in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol." The resolution and Articles are quite specific on the speech made, but fail to define either the context… or the Orange One's duty to be aware of and take care regarding that context. There is no doubt in my mind that the Orange One had such a duty, and indeed had both constructive and actual knowledge; there is no doubt in my mind that he failed to take care to avoid a foreseeable lawless result, and indeed intended such a result. But this proposed Article of Impeachment fails precisely because it provides sufficient detail only as to some of the acts/expression involved… meaning that understanding it later will require the general public to read the transcript of any trial in detail (especially since voting on articles of impeachment doesn't include any sort of "special verdict form" that would clarify the result). tl;dr You don't get to accuse someone of misconduct "in context" without defining the "context" up front.

    Which leads to the real too-late-to-the-party problem. Heffalumps in the House have also blocked a resolution requesting invocation of U.S. Const. Amd. XXV § 4 by the current Vice President and current Cabinet. As I've pointed out for some time, however, that resolution is weeks late… and arguably years late. This is the result of awarding power to narcissistic sociopaths; and it was as predictable in early 2016 as it was last week, if not in all the specifics. (We've been here before.) Section 4 should have been invoked not later than mid-November just on the prelude to last week (and would probably have avoided, or at least mitigated, last week). "Willful denial of facts" counts in my book as a definitive circumstance that renders the officeholder "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."