Here we go

Apparently, Donald Trump thinks he has to leave the White House only if Joe Biden satisfies certain of Trump’s demands.

This is crazy-talk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to his crazy followers. Seriously: I will not be surprised if thousands of his loonies show-up in D.C. on or about Inauguration Day, armed and prepared to ‘defend’ the White House from a usurper.

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A sad anniversary

So: How often have you heard it remarked today that this is the 57th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

Not once, I’m guessing.

I mention this because it’s a pointer to how time rolls on. It wasn’t that long ago — 10-years? — that this date could not pass without at least a mention of it, perhaps a broadcast snippet of the infamous Zapruder film, a flash of the image of a scowling Oswald. For decades, there were books written in futile attempts to sort-out the botched investigation. But searching just now, I find less than a half-dozen allusions to the assassination on Twitter.

Those who were middle-aged at the time are now gone. Those who were young adults are … going, by the thousands, every single day. To we who were young schoolchildren it’s now just a dramatic childhood memory whose outlines are fuzzy.

The stoics had an expression: memento mori — remember that you will die. The Kennedy assassination is a good example of what they meant: Keep things in perspective, because time rolls on and the day is not far off when nobody, anywhere, will care about today’s events.

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Happy … Holidays?

Liberty Counsel has issued its annual list of companies that it considers insufficiently deferential to pious loons such as themselves, identifying them as ‘naughty.’

And imagine my dismay when I discovered that my favorite mall hangout, Barnes & Noble, is on the list.

Once again, Barnes & Noble is on our Naughty List, as this well-known bookstore places little acknowledgement on the Christmas season, but rather the “holiday” season and gift giving. Although this store sells Christian products, this bookstore has lost focus on the Reason for the season. Call Barnes & Noble at 800-843-2665 to encourage them to bring the Christmas season back to their stores.

This colossal bookseller, whose customers practice many religions and no religion, notes the winter solstice ‘holiday season’ rather than the holiday observed by Christians specifically — though Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, on and on, will traipse through their stores over the next 5-weeks.

For that they should be boycotted? Bah.

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Revisited: Should Trump be prosecuted?

Multiple news outlets have reported the past few days that Joe Biden is reluctant to pursue criminal charges against Donald Trump after he leaves office, believing Trump has spent enough time in the limelight and consumed enough national energy.

As I said here, I have mixed feelings. Donald Trump is undoubtedly a criminal and belongs in prison; putting him there will further divide our already-badly-divided country, however. A reader who goes by the name Infidel753 favors prosecution; I’ve reproduced his comment below:

The problem is that giving Trump a pass would also come at great cost to the country, by disappointing Democratic voters and de-motivating them to turn out in 2022, and by adding fuel to the both-siderist attitude that the big guys in both parties are part of a cozy club who always cover up for each other.

It’s understandable that Biden doesn’t want his own presidency preoccupied with going after Trump — he has a lot of other things he needs to do. So let the SDNY deal with it. That would also take the issue of a presidential pardon off the table.

The Democratic party needs to stop worrying about appeasing people who will hate them no matter what they do, and focus more of appealing to their supporters (and potential supporters in the sensible center) who are going to judge them by whether they do the right thing as opposed to the politically expedient thing.

I can’t argue with any of that. What is more, I lean increasingly toward prosecution as he orchestrates this weird, slow-motion grass-roots coup aimed at intimidating electors and refuses to facilitate the transition.

So: What do Civil Commotion readers think? Poll below, and there’s lots of room for comments.

UPDATE: What do you know? The Nation takes a look at exactly this question, and favors prosecution.

Legal prosecution will do nothing to fight the popularity of Trump and Trumpism. Indeed, given his anti-system persona, it is likely to bind him closer to his followers. He’ll become a martyr.

Having said that, not prosecuting Trump will also come with a cost. The United States is a nation of elite impunity, as the history of recent decades demonstrates. Nixon had to resign for Watergate, but he also received an expansive pardon from his successor, Gerald Ford, which covered all crimes Nixon might have committed as president whether discovered or not. It’s hard to interpret this pardon as affirming anything other than the idea that an American president can never face legal liability, no matter what.

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Quote for the day

How do you trust this version of the Republican Party to ever hold the White House again?

Its members have sat mute while Trump, rather than using the federal bureaucracy to launch a war against our surging pandemic, has launched a war against his perceived enemies inside that federal bureaucracy — including the defense secretary, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and, on Tuesday, the most senior cybersecurity official responsible for protecting the presidential election — weakening it when we need it most.

Engineering Trump’s internal purge is 30-year-old Johnny McEntee, “a former college quarterback who was hustled out of the White House two years ago after a security clearance check turned up a prolific habit for online gambling,” but Trump later welcomed him back and installed him as personnel director for the entire U.S. government, The Washington Post reported.

Tom Friedman, New York Times

Famously, a handful of Senators visited Richard Nixon after a release of the Watergate Tapes and told him it was time to go. But now? GOP Senators are unable even — Even! — to bestir themselves to tell the First Felon to cooperate with the incoming Biden Administration — though refusal to smoothly hand-off the baton of fighting Coronavirus is a bolted-down death sentence for some number of Americans.

Think about that: This squalid pack of cowards won’t even demand that the administration act in concert with the incoming administration in fighting the pandemic. That’s how sick Trump’s cultish GOP has become.

Friedman is right: The GOP must die.

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