Notes from America: January 14, 2021

Processing my thoughts (and frustrations) in public, with new Notes From America.

Nothing’s Gonna Happen

Trump has been impeached – again. He wanted a second term, he got a second impeachment instead. First president ever to be impeached twice.

But what’s going to happen next? The news are full of speculation but one bit seems to fly under the radar entirely: as former 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judge J. Michael Luttig explains is his opinion piece for the Washington Post, “Once Trump leaves office, the Senate can’t hold an impeachment trial” because when his term ends, “Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings against him.”

In other words, an impeachment trial after January 20th is unconstitutional, and thus would have to happen before Biden’s inauguration, while Trump is still in office. And McConnell has made it clear that he won’t bring the Senate back early and that this would have to happen “after the 19th”. Meaning: there won’t be a trial. The end. Trump gets to shirk just punishment, once more.

Update: law professor Stephen I. Vladeck argues in the NYT Why Trump Can Be Convicted Even as an Ex-President but with these two opposing opinions, I’m pessimistic. The best case would appear to be a lot of political turmoil that will perhaps – GOP willing, because a 2/3 majority in the Senate will be needed, of course – lead to prohibiting Trump from ever running again, and stripping him of his post-presidential benefits.

Silencing & Cancel Culture

After Trump and a couple of others have been removed from Twitter, Facebook and now Snapchat, some Republicans are complaining about “the silencing of conservative voices” and “the cancel culture” (that will, according to hypocritical-beyond-belief representative Jim Jordan, “come to get us all”). This allows a glimpse into the alternate reality bubble that these people still live in.

No one has a problem hearing ACTUAL conservative voices and their talking points. Even though any of their policies actually work as advertised is doubtful, because people certainly haven’t gotten better in the last four years, after we’ve had those tax cuts for the rich that were supposed to trickle down, and all that…

So if it’s about that, I can fix it for them, because what we’re really talking about is:

The silencing of extremist voices, and stopping the spread of lies.

But it seems to me that’s all these “conservative voices” are about right now. And that’s a problem (for everyone, not just them, unfortunately). Only ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump because the rest of them think this is just another Democrat ploy to go after the president.

This Twitter account, Facebook’s Top 10, posts a daily summary of the best-performing posts with links, on Facebook pages. Take a look at just how often conservative pages place there. Silencing, much? I guess not.

Why do these pages perform so well? My guess is that there’s more riled-up conservatives that go down the rabbit hole of daily doomscrolling, and eagerly follow the most obvious clickbait posted on Facebook.

More centrist and left leaning people probably have become both aware and wary of the social media algorithm’s twisted reward for attention by now, while conservatives like how they find confirmation in this echo chamber.*

Public Trust

Frank Landis, chair of the California Native Plant Society’s San Diego chapter, describes in his latest article “Trusts” how the Wildlife Conversation Board (WCB) simply did “the right thing” because public trust in institutions is important.

It gave me a lot to think about and I could go into a lengthy monologue about how fundamentally broken public trust is now, and on so many levels too. After all, the United States have four years of seeing a major American party enabling a “political pyromaniac” and reaffirming and repeating his lies behind them (or almost behind them).

This is betrayal of the “country before party” principle that has been touted so often now that it has become almost meaningless. It’s clear that it is nothing than words and hot air when politicians have a choice between staying in power and doing the right thing. And this has turned Trump supporters into “believers of the Big Lie“.

The fallout of this betrayal will last for a really long time, and we’re going to see another manifestation of it soon, in more violent protests around inauguration day. 😦

*) friendly reminder and request: Facebook sucks and is the worst, so please consider deleting your account. Replace the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messenger with Signal.

2 thoughts on “Notes from America: January 14, 2021

  1. “Politics Ruins Everything” David Freiheit (probably didn’t coin the term) – Most of what we hear at top levels, regardless of the source is built to instill mistrust and anger. That is what sells. That is also why we see the insurgence of middle-of-the-road news commentators emerge. People like Dershowitz and Pool who breakdown the rhetoric and legal aspects of the foolery we see of the congress and senate.
    A year from now, it will be something else….
    Trump will do whatever he can to stay relevant. Every jot and tittle published will play right into his hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know… I think Trump doesn’t really care about anything but himself. He spend more than 10 months of his presidency on the golf course. Maybe he’ll find that the life he had before was much easier. And now that his social media bullhorns have been taken away from him, his possibilities to radicalize naive people appears to be more limited. At this point, anything can happen… the only silver lining is that he too, like all of us, will eventually die. And history won’t judge him kindly.

      Liked by 1 person

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