Jan. 6 Hearings 4, 5 and 6

UPDATE on June 28 hearing in the comments section.  Included below the Heather Cox Richardson Letters from an American for June 28.  Richardson is ideal for reading every day, if interested in public affairs.

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Hearings 4 on June 21, 5 on June 23, and 6 on June 28  were especially powerful.  As with the others, I watched them in their entirety.

I expect to not publicize this post until June 26, specifically related to the Porter item, below.

Here are excellent summaries of June 21: Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American for June 21; Digby’s Hullabaloo for June 22 (this includes several posts).       Here is an additional comment: Lady Ruby

For June 23, also Heather Cox Richardson, for June 23.

For June 28, also Heather Cox Richardson, for June 28.

These hearings, all of them, including those in coming weeks, are the hard evidence of the insanity we’ve had to live through in recent years.  They are ignored at our individual peril.

I have additional opinions, too, but will save them for a bit later.

In the interim: June 21, before the Hearing, I saw an e-mail from a reader who went to the same college as I, at the same time in history.  He forwarded a forward by a John Porter, and I’d like to share it with you, and invite your personal comments to the writing, which is overtly political.

The forward is here: Porter June 2022.  The hi-liting is mine.  At this moment, I have made no effort to find out who Porter is, etc.  I’m sharing it exactly as received.

I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts, which I can share as comments here.  (I have already passed it along to a number of regular readers who seem to have an interest in political matters, thus there will be several comments already received included here.  I will add these comments on June 26.)

POSTNOTE Sunday, afternoon June 26, 2022

Regarding the “John Porter” letter referenced above: June 23, I sent the above to a number of friends who I thought would be interested, and several responded (see below, and at end of the post).  I made an effort to find out who “John Porter” is – it’s a common name, and it’s unwise to accept at face value anything attributed to anybody.  There were some possibilities, but I couldn’t say for certain who the writer really is.  What I can say for certain is the language that is used in the letter is language I’ve seen in various forms, always from people who pretty obviously have been taught to despise the very word “democrat” and its variations, and cherish the opposing word “republic”.  The words are all that is important.  Whether based on fact or fiction is of no relevance.   Examples abound: Just yesterday the Governor of Mississippi praised the recent Supreme Court decision in behalf of the “God-fearing” people of his state; on the same day I received the Porter letter, the Secretary of State of Arizona, at the 4th hearing on Jan. 6, talked about his church’s belief that the Constitution is divinely inspired.  In his case, thankfully, the Secretary of State supported the interpretation of the Constitution about elections.  And I could go on and on.

Here, with thanks, are the other opinions offered on Porter and the issues raised.

from Joyce: This is about 3 1/2 minutes long, and well worth watching; it is an excellent response to those 6 annoying words, “we’re a republic, not a democracy”. Of course we’re a democracy.

from Peter: My reading of Mr. Porter’s statement is: he’s beating a long-dead horse.

“Wilderness continent” was never the case, just as it was never the case in Palestine when it was called “a land without people for a people without land.”

An “economic common market” was indeed the plan. Monarchy was already obsolete as far as the colonists were concerned. They wanted to pursue conquest and and slavery on their own and keep the profits.

It was a long time before the Bill of Rights applied to anybody other than the white landlords. It still does not extend to everyone, and business considerations determine individual rights for huge chunks of the population.

The nuances of language, “Republic,” “Democracy,” “Socialism,” etc. may once have had some meaning. But the present structure of our government is Fascism: government is at the mercy of corporate investment. If any legislator is told an idea will “send jobs overseas,” that idea will go no further. This is called “Capital Strike” (see “Levers of Power”)

This explains why no president or justice or legislator ever considers moving against the colossal war machine that serves the arms, drugs, and energy industries (today’s version of the Triangular Trade system).

The public has been short-changed as to health care, housing, education, and employment, to the point of serious food insecurity at unprecedented scale. We’re starving and freezing in front of our screens, which are blaming this on Russia and China. Momentum in this awful direction is still accelerating. Fixing the public misperception of democracy will make no difference whatsoever.

What will make a difference? This is a deep question with complex implications. For one thing our minds are very different today, now that communications networks have become an attention-extraction industry in themselves. But this was not possible without connecting human beings to each other, while ensnaring us in the behavioral data-mining system.

This enormous expansion of human relationships, across continents and even language barriers, especially with the advent of cheap videoconferencing software, has brought a paradigm change so profound, it’s as if we had driven the car into the canal. We’re stepping on the brakes at this point, while the water rises up the windows, but we may catch on quickly to a new way of being in this new world. Maybe we will return to our real relationship to the biosphere we’re currently destroying forever.

The boundaries of community have exploded, and secrecy (never mind privacy) is about to disappear altogether. We are all about to be rendered naked for all practical purposes.

If humanity is going to survive, the change is already well underway, and nobody alive can possibly comprehend it, because it is not an extension of anything that ever happened before.

One thing is certain. Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive in their present form have been dysfunctional and obsolete for years. We have already moved on.

from Fred: Good to see James Reed’s [below] studied reaction to this fallacious drivel. I would add that the founding fathers were not in fear of the terrors of socialism and the mob when they created the Constitution. Monarchs, as they well knew, had pretty tight reign in Europe. Socialism didn’t really gather steam until the French Revolution broke out in 1789. French patriots overthrew their ruler, wrote a Constitution and established the nation’s First Republic. American leaders, at least the landed gentry, might have been pretty nervous over the later Reign of Terror, but they had already agreed on a Constitution.

 French lost their Republic to Napoleon. The flame of freedom flared into mid-1800s revolutions against European monarchies. Those uprisings didn’t work out, but the US got more than a few new immigrants and some revolutionaries after the failure to overthrow monarchs.
And the French eventually got rid of Napoleon and Second and Third Republics came along. Hitler finished off the Third Republic, then came the Fourth Republic (post-WW2 govt.) and today’s Fifth. The French are big on being part of a Republic. All this proves, through undeniable syllogistic logic and to Mr. Porter’s joy, that US and French have exactly the same form of government.
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from Jeff: The gun decision will be probably overcome in states that are supportive of sound gun safety by new legislation defining places that concealed guns are not allowed.

The big news of course is the overturning of Roe v Wade.  Interestingly TFG thinks that this decision will be bad for Republicans in Swing and Purple states as suburban women will rebel against Republican candidates… you might see this as well in statewide places like Montana, Alaska, and Kansas where personal independence is a big deal….the hard red states are mostly secure.
The danger in this remains the whittling away of the 14th Amendment…though Alito’s majority opinion says this only applies to abortion,  Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion clearly draws a direct line to allowing states to set their own rules on same sex relationships and marriages, contraception, and by extension I dont see how a state couldn’t logically ban interracial marriage if it wanted to…it isn’t any different in theory as these are all personal privacy issues.
So on Thursday the same majority took away the rights of states to some extent to make their own rules on gun safety, whereas on Friday it returned the right to discriminate against women’s control of their own bodies back to the states.  Clarence Thomas may be black ,but this is another step in the white patriarchy dominionist movement.
It will be interesting to see how the Catholic Church in America reacts… I mean the institutional church. Will this make the more conservative bishops more emboldened to deny communion to politicians and public figures who support choice in their states?
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from Norm: I scanned Porter’s diatribe against representative democracy and have no interest in commenting beyond saying that is disappointing and a bit disillusioning to read that tripe from a fellow American.

Clearly, he agrees with the man child who would be king in thinking that American should be governed by an authoritarian cabal of some sort no doubt to make sure that “those” people with “those ideas” about self-government are not in charge and/ordo not have any say in how the government is run.

Porter sort of meets the description of some of the Proud Boys and others made by someone regarding the January 6th attempted coup hearings That is, that they are just little boys who cannot get girls!

Not worth my time to comment any further!

Again, knowing that thanks to the man child who would be king, too many people seem to agree with that kind of thinking and are ready and willing to give up on democracy!

Very disillusioning!

from Dick: The above comments were individually and independently made.  Additionally I had commented back to the person who forwarded the Porter piece to me in the first place.  I appreciate receiving the Porter piece.  It is very much the same as many other forwards I used to receive (not so much any more).  “Facts” were often not facts at all, just an exercise of someone’s creative writing.

I will correctly be identified as an active Democrat, “moderate, pragmatic” as I self-identify.  Everyone who knows me well, especially politically, [knows] that my political hero and indeed mentor was lifelong Republican and former Governor of Minnesota.  He died a dozen years ago, and he would absolutely be horrified by the current state of affairs in what passes for todays Republican Party.  I knew him well.  Todays Republicans are not Republican in any historical sense.
The words in Porter’s column were very obvious: Republicans are the good guys, men, founders of the Republic, God-fearing….  Democrats most relate to [are equated with] socialists, mobs, even Communist and Marxist, mobocracy.  You can read it in his column.  Democrat, symbolized by the Clintons, is the government mob.
I know lots of Democrats for lots of years.   If the labelling were not so horrible, it would be funny.  I know this myth has been cultivated for years, and believed, even if ridiculous.
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POSTNOTE June 28, 2022:  I watched the two hours today.  The only witness was Cassidy Hutchinson, a young but obviously highly competent and loyal republican staff member who, in the time period of Jan. 6 and before, was officed in the West Wing near the Oval Office and the office of Mark Meadows.
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Jim Klein (comment below) is critical of the made-for-tv aspect of these hearings.  I disagree.  For one thing, what is being established by the hearings themselves is a permanent public record which will last far beyond the hearings themselves, and regardless of what’s done or not done by the Department of Justice.  More importantly, the hearings are specifically designed to attract and hold the interest of the public who, in these times, is addicted to TV programs and communication by tweet.  In my opinion, the format, etc., is designed for todays audience.  It would not have been available in the 1970s, and not understood by the then-public.

 

2 replies
  1. James Reed
    James Reed says:

    The Porter letter has a number of historical errors as well as application of modern terms for forms of government that didn’t exist in any manner at the end of the eighteenth century. First, the Constitution was written five years after the end of the revolutionary war and during the time of an ineffective confederate-style federal government. The objective of the “founding fathers” was to devise the structure for an effective federal government while maintaining appropriate authority for the state governments then in existence. The result was a Constitution for a republican style government based in part by the examples of the Greek and Roman republics in antiquity and writings of French and English philosophers of the day. But because of its somewhat split objectives of governing by both federal and state authorities, the Constitution is in many ways a set of compromises, compromises that live with us today.
    For example, the Constitution defines two legislative bodies in the federal government: the House “chosen every second Year by the People” therefore a directly elected body, and the Senate “from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof” therefore a representative body of the state governments. Yes, the Constitution doesn’t use the word “democracy”, but the House was clearly intended as a democratic body balanced by the state representing Senate. Yes, the “founding fathers” feared “mob” rule, but as they still wanted the words of the people, their answer was that split legislature with the peoples words also considered by those who the state governments believed would be wise in judgment.
    By the way, the fear of “mob” rule arose from the history of the Athenian government that was directly elected by the people (that’s why “democracy” is derived from Greek) and that collapsed when opposing “mobs” combatted in the streets. On the other hand, the Roman republic collapsed into the empire when the elites decided they knew better and resolved their judgments through warfare with the winner becoming emperor. The “founding fathers” compromise tried (and still tries) to avoid those opposing catastrophes.
    Of course, their were no “socialist” or “communist” governments at that “founding fathers” time. One could, I guess, describe the later French revolutionary governments in socialist terms of some sort, but those government came some years after 1787 and, to my knowledge, didn’t describe themselves as “socialist”. They were also short lived. Communism wasn’t known until the writing of Karl Marx’s manifesto some sixty years later.
    The “Bill of Rights” were written (almost entirely written by Madison) because some state legislatures refused to vote on the Constitution unless additional limits would be written against the federal government. They were written in 1791, two years after the Constitution was ratified. Most of these rights were in response to the nasty behavior by the British government against the colonies. Some, like the Second Amendment, were written to satisfy particular interests in the state governments (e.g. Pennsylvania).

    Reply
  2. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein says:

    Dick,

      Well, you’re certainly right to infer that the Porter Letter is overtly political.

    I don’t disagree strongly with anything that James Reed had to say about it.  A quibble here and there.  One that jumps readily to mind is that, in my opinion, in NO way did the Founders intend democracy as we understand the term today.  In both the Greek and Roman models, democracy was a system depending on majorities of highly restricted lists of voters.  No women or slaves could vote, to pick only the most obvious limitation.  To put it in perspective, calling either a democracy in our contemporary understanding of the word would be analogous to calling an American corporation a democracy simply because its Board of Directors makes its decisions via majority votes…  Who gets to vote makes all the difference, and if every individual who is affected by the decision being made is not eligible to vote, then, that’s not democracy.  The Founders were not interested in Universal Suffrage.

    Of course, neither are we, today.  One must be 18.  One must be a citizen in all but a few jurisdictions that have very recently begun experimenting with the idea of giving the vote to non-citizen residents.  In many places, one must not currently be an imprisoned felon.  In some, one must not be a past felon. Those may, some or all, be good ideas (or not) but none of them leads to a true democracy.  That’s just not something we want or ever have wanted.

    And, of course, we have only a haphazard system for allowing those to whom we DO grant the vote to be able to do anything directly.  In most places in the US, what voters get to do is elect representatives.  There are a few places that do Town Meeting that has governmental powers, and, of course, some states like California have a rich tradition of government by ballot Proposition.  Having lived there for 7 years, I can tell you that California’s experiment with direct “democracy” quite often works very badly.  Not just in outcome, which is in the eye of the beholder, but in process, which people on both sides of every ballot Proposition seem to agree on each cycle…

    Focusing for a moment on the Porter Letter itself, it’s just an example of what passes for political discourse in our culture and times.  It makes at least one good, valid point (the U.S. is a (federal) republic, we are not a democracy) and tacks on a whole lot of stuff that’s just plain cringe-worthy.  Reed points out the anachronisms.  I would add, also, that Porter clearly has no idea what socialism is or even what category of thing it is (it is not a form of government, but, rather, an economic system which can be adopted within any form or government). 

    Finally, on the Jan. 6 Committee TV sessions:  No.  I am not watching them in their entirety, nor even in part.  My wife and I were watching one of the after-the-local-news talk and comedy shows the night before #1 and heard Rep. Schiff explain in a very matter-of-fact way just what these broadcasts were going to be – How they had hired a TV producer of some repute and pre-planned everything into a series of digestible “shows” specifically for TV.  How there would be (he hoped, and committee members had agreed) nothing spontaneous.  He was really proud of that.  My wife and I didn’t even say anything to each other for a bit.  We just kept looking at each other with open-mouthed expressions.  When we finally discussed, it was to agree that what he was describing is what in the old days of the Soviet Union we used to refer to as a Show Trial.  It was what “they” did.  “We” were proud that our system did not work that way.  Apparently, now it does.    I’m not OK with that.

    I have been following along with the print media reports on the following days.  Don’t get me wrong, now – I think everyone involved in the actual invasion of the Capitol should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law, and, I suspect, I won’t be satisfied with that, either, so we should adopt new laws that will provide sterner punishment for any similar crimes in the future.  This was a horrible, criminal riot.  And, as with so many riots, there clearly were individuals, often members of groups, who showed up with PLANS to riot.  

    But with regard to the Jan. 6 violence itself, I have had two questions since the day-of, and, I still have the same two questions:

         Why in the world was the Capitol security structure SO not up to handling this, and if the “systems” WERE sufficient to handle it, why was the execution so disastrously bad?  Or, put another way, do we need new systems and procedures for handling something like this, and, if we do NOT, who will PAY with their career(s) for screwing up that badly?  I am just not getting any answers to that from this committee, or anyone else, for that matter.

              *and*

         If this was anything MORE than a riot, anything even approaching a coup attempt, then why, having achieved what should have been the difficult part – taking control of the U.S. Capitol with the entire U.S. Congress inside – did the alleged coup-plotters then clearly have no plan whatsoever as to what to do next?  Dick, if this was a coup attempt, we are the luckiest people on earth, because we drew the most incompetent bunch of coup-plotters in world history.  

    I could go on and on about how badly the liberal/progressive/Democratic “establishment”, including the non-Fox elements of the news media, are handling this.  (Never mind Fox – they are, as always, hopeless when it comes to doing anything more than making their “base” foam at the mouth…).  I’ll just state what for me is the conclusion:  Nobody who is convincible that Trump himself was being a bad actor after losing the election is going to be convinced by any of this.  Yes, the facts are coming out, but the “psychology” of how this is being attempted is all wrong.  Those who already hated Trump have ever-more reason(s) to.  Fine.  Those who love him will only be struck by the ill-logic, the cherry-picking, and the fundamental unfairness of The Show Trial, and will double down on their allegiance to the man.  Anyone in the middle has probably already tuned out in terms of critical thought.  If they are still tuned in to the broadcasts themselves, it’s because they find them entertaining.  And, yes, there are still many such in-the-middle folks.  They, and those who were smitten by Trump but may have the capacity to “snap out of it” – They should be the target markets for persuasion, and what’s being done by the Committee and how it’s being covered by the media are almost guaranteed to fail with those groups.

    Reply

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