Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.52, Week of July 9 – 15, 2022 (Jan. 6 Hearing #7 – American Carnage)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 9 through Friday, July 15, 2022 [Vol.3 No.52]

Jan. 6 Hearing #7 – American Carnage

The Week’s Most Notable

Another week, another significant January 6 hearing. The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Insurrection may be accomplishing what many (most) thought impossible – changing the attitude of the nation about the January 6 insurrection and Trump’s role in it. This week’s seventh installment of the serial political thriller, “Trump Did It,” made it clear that the ultimate responsibility for the violence at the Capitol – the dead, the scores of injured, the hundreds convicted, the attack on democracy – belongs to Donald Trump. The hearing went into detail about how Trump knew that the rally on January 6 had strong potential for violence, that people in the crowd were armed. More importantly, the attack on the Capitol building was planned weeks if not months before conspiring with the Proud Boys, OathKeepers, and other right-wing militias. Then there was the astonishing six-hour meeting in the Oval Office on December 18, 2021 which is a solid bet to become a movie (farce, tragedy, or both). The cast, featuring such characters as the Kraken lady (Sidney Powell) and Rudy Giuliani, had a document ready to declare a national emergency and have the military collect voting machines. Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, stepped into the meeting to quash its insanity. Immediately, as in minutes after that meeting, Trump issued his now infamous tweet calling upon his followers to show up on January 6 because “it will be wild.”

Personal testimony at the hearing by Jason Van Tatenhove (former OathKeeper), and Stephen Ayres (convicted Capitol rioter) nailed-down the concept that people came to the rally and went to the Capitol because of Trump. He called them; he riled them up; he sent them to the Capitol. The next hearing, currently scheduled for Thursday, July 21 at 8 PM (prime time) may close the circle of insurrection by documenting what Trump did or did not do (dereliction of duty) during the violence on that afternoon. (It might be a footnote, but Vice Chairperson Cheney’s warning to Trump about tampering with witnesses, which came at the end of the session, sent the media off in a frenzy.)

Janus-faced Inflation. Two-faced Janus, Roman god of beginnings and endings, seems appropriate for the current U.S. economy. The June economic figures show inflation has hit 9.1%, another recent record, with energy costs (read, gasoline) the driving force. Janus-face: angry, scowling. But July has another story, gasoline prices are down 15% and the threat of recession seems to be putting a damper on some of the inflationary pressures. Janus-face: smiling (almost). Are economic conditions better or worse? Depends on whom you ask. Recent surveys have shown that Americans tend to say money is tight, but that they’re OK; the national economy, on the other hand, is a disaster. Economists know it’s not a disaster and doing better, but perception is 90% of conviction in these cases. The excellent unemployment figures are not enough to compensate. Will any positive news affect the midterm elections for Democrats? Not if pessimistic propaganda can help it.

Rotten egg on face. With lightning speed, the Dobbs decision produced this week one of the most terrible/bizarre/archetypal stories we may hear for a while: The raped, pregnant ten-year old resident of Ohio that had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion. Fox News and a number of right-wing commentators immediately yelled “Hoax!”, accusing the 10-year-old of lying. This included the Wall Street Journal. Problem: Columbus Ohio police recorded the rape. Just recently the rapist was caught and confessed. Right-wing solution: Praise the Columbus police. Rant about the immigrant rapist. (Nobody apologized to the family for anything.) Then, the Indiana AG attacked the doctor who performed the abortion – for not registering. Only she did register. Now the doctor is suing the AG. This is one incident, albeit the first, in what will become a steady stream of legal and moral perversion. How long will it be before some police enforce a new law making it illegal to travel across state lines for abortion? There are two words, at least, that apply: authoritarian and sadistic.

Saturday, July 9

[Ukraine] Russians Prepare to Move on Donetsk Province – The summer campaign is to capture the remaining lands in Donetsk province, which will consolidate Russian control of Eastern Ukraine. Like the campaign in Luhansk, this will be grinding, slow, and bloody. [Update: Russia continued a pattern of random shelling and missile attacks on various parts of Ukraine, so far with more than 100 casualties, typically occurring in civilian buildings.]

Sunday, July 10                                                                                                          

[Sri Lanka] One Family Rule Is Collapsing in Sri Lanka – Dynasties are intriguing on television; in real life, not so much. Sri Lanka has been ruled for many years by the Rajapaksa family. Luxurious lifestyle was their calling card, a devastated economy their legacy. Collapsing infrastructure, rampant inflation, massive corruption – the expected results from an authoritarian-leaning government in a quasi-democracy. Eventually, they found the people revolting. On Saturday the revolt was abrupt but it looks like a peaceful transition of power. How did they manage that?

[Japan] Assassinated Shinzo Abe’s Party Wins by a Landslide – Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has ruled for most years since WWII, but the assassination probably kicked off a sympathy vote. The LDP won 143 out of 248 seats in the upper house of the National Diet.

[Abortion] Biden under Pressure to Do More to Support Abortion Rights – It’s axiomatic the Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. A consensus among Democrats is that the abortion issue is the golden ticket to the midterms. However, the impression has been that this assessment isn’t held by the Democratic leadership, namely Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer. Evidence: It took the Biden administration two weeks to formulate a cohesive statement about the Supreme Court ruling and its effects. Why wasn’t this ready when the ruling came down, same day, when everybody had two months advance notice? Now there’s talk of declaring a national health emergency, or at least something equally dramatic. Too late, and not going to happen. It looks like the issue of not making a big enough issue is going to dog Democrats for some time. [Update: Texas sues federal government over mandate for hospitals to treat emergency abortion cases.]

[Baby Formula] Michigan Baby-Formula Plant Reopens – Remember the baby formula crisis? Haven’t even heard big babies cry about it lately. Emergency measures have largely worked, and now one of the prime causes – production stoppage at a major plant because of floods – will be a thing of the past within a few weeks.

Monday, July 11

[Court Appearances] Bannon Must Appear for Trial, Sen. Graham for Grand Jury – Court rulings in both these cases upheld the notion that delay without cause does not help the court. Bannon has been trying to weasel out of his contempt of Congress indictment, but now must appear next Monday to start his trial. Graham was trying to hide behind his” legislative activity” for getting involved with Trump’s attempt to change votes in Georgia. The judge said not a good enough reason to keep him from testifying before a grand jury.

 [Coronavirus] Omicron BA.5 Is Now the Dominant COVID Strain in the U.S. – This is bad news because the variant is extremely infectious and better at avoiding immunization (natural or man-made). U.S. figures are already rising this weekend to 31,000 people in hospitals and averaging about 400 deaths a day. Stories of pressures on hospital staff are beginning to surface.

[FDA – Birth Control] French Company Asks FDA to Approve Sales of Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill – Good timing. The company said the timing had nothing to do with the Supreme Court Dobbs decision. Making birth control pills available without a doctor’s prescription? That’ll go over well with fundamentalist Christians.

[James Webb Space Telescope] The World Was Amazed by New Images of the Universe – Part of the payoff for the $10 billion James Webb space telescope are artificially colored and spectacular images of our universe – looking into the past billions of years at galaxies and star clusters never before seen. Biden reminded us, “America can do big things.”

Tuesday, July 12

[Jan. 6 Hearing] Hearing #7: Trump Called Them Forth and Sent Them unto the Breach – Though hardly biblical in scale, there is something epic about the level of deception and cultism in the unfolding story of Trump, the Big Lie, the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the multiple attempts to subvert the presidential election. Maybe that’s why these House committee hearings have become must-see television. They’ve also been masterpieces in presenting complex information using people’s (mostly Republicans) testimony. This hearing trained the spotlight on Trump, and Trump alone, for gathering the foot soldiers of the insurrection. Some of them are now in prison, others should be. The committee’s point: Trump promised ending American carnage, the January 6 insurrection may have actually started it.

[Middle East Trip] Biden off to Israel and Saudi Arabia – It’s an oil-soaked hegira. Diplomatic and economic relations all over the world are breaking apart and reforming; Biden felt he had to make this Mideast trip – as controversial and unpopular as it turns out to be – because the Realpolitik of the situation demands it.

Wednesday, July 13

{Inflation} Led by Surging Gasoline Prices, Inflation Index Rises to 9.1% – – In June, any trip to the gas station or grocery store was troubling. Price rises were accelerating. In response, the Fed may raise the interest rate by another three quarters or even 1%. For Wall Street, that is scary, foretelling perhaps of recession. On the other hand, July might be telling a slightly different inflation story. However, most Americans believe only what they see happening to their own pocketbook.

[Europe – Climate Change] Southern Europe Is Burning – Temperatures reaching 115°F were common in Portugal, similar temperatures in Spain, Croatia, and southern France triggered numerous wildfires. Citizens of Great Britain were given warnings about heat exhaustion. European meteorologists are warning that because of climate change, drought and high temperatures are becoming endemic for summers in southern Europe.

[Euro] Euro Falls Below 1-to-1 Exchange Rate with U.S. Dollar – Hammered by uncertain Russian energy supply, the ongoing Ukraine war, and the risk of recession, the Euro – along with half the currencies in the world – had its value running toward the dollar. This is also not good for the U.S., as the overvalued dollar will make exports more expensive.

Thursday, July 14                                                             

[Uvalde Massacre] Corridor Video and Cop at a Hand Sanitizer Shocks America – We’re really into proxy details at the moment. A school-hall video with almost nothing happening for 77 minutes (except an armed guy in battle gear using a sanitizer dispenser) belies one of the worst and most profoundly sickening events in recent history – just out of sight, behind one wall, are the bodies of 19 children and 2 teachers, macerated by a disturbed 19-year-old and his AR-15. The video was aired without permission, which caused an uproar all by itself, but didn’t disguise the significance – documentary proof that for 77 minutes a gaggle of law-enforcement officials did nothing to save lives. So much for a cop in every school being a solution to mass murder.

[Secret Service] The Suspiciously Ill-timed Two-day Phone Data Gap –- One way or another, the White House Secret Service erased phone data for January 5 and 6, 2021. The period may have been longer. They claim it happened while doing a software update. The sequence of events still needs clarification – the Homeland Security Inspector General’s account does not square, at all, with the Secret Service’s. Apparently, the relevant data was lost after the IG requested retention of all data for those dates. The Secret Service disputes this. Significance: Calls on those days could have information or conversations about who ordered the VP out of the Capitol, or the situation in POTUS’s vehicle after the Insurrection rally. Charitably put: This is a mess with some history of bad faith, potentially huge contemporary relevance, and much to untangle. [Update: The Jan. 6 Committee has subpoenaed all Secret Service documents relevant to the erased text messages.]

[Senate] Lucy (Joe Manchin) Swipes the Ball Away. Again – Democrats thought they were on the way to eking-out at least a partial resurrection of the infrastructure “Build Back Better” bill. Then along came Manchin with his spade, smacking the bill upside its head and covering it up back in the grave, metaphorically speaking.  Schumer had previously made many concessions to Manchin, and Democrats thought they were on the way to significant compromise. Gone. All that remains are a few pieces of child-friendly legislation, maybe some healthcare support. Or maybe not – Manchin caught the Republican inflation chill really bad. Lucy, how could you do this to us?

Friday, July 15                                                                                                      

[Saudi Arabia] Biden Meets and Greets Mohammed bin Salman – Old buddies trade fist bumps. (A sense of parody is required here.) It’s hard not to notice that since the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russian oil and gas, petroleum is now fully back at the reins of world energy. Fossil fuels Invictus. Even nuclear energy is back in the conversation. Green energy – silence. Correspondingly, the entire world is performing a massive sliding-tile game, with petro-resources, customers, and trillions of dollars being shuffled around and realigned. This shuffling dwarfs everything else. That’s why Biden is in Saudi Arabia. More than ever, petro-power makes the world go round.

[China – Economy] China Discloses Slowest Economic Growth in Two Years – If China rides this decline into recession, it will have a profound effect on the world economy. The Chinese economy is reeling from both a continuing battle with coronavirus and the world-wide drop in demand for Chinese exports.

Politics, Legislation, Election Notes

Biden is toast? Is it gaslighting or fact? A recent poll by New York Times/Siena showed that 41% of Democratic voters don’t want Biden to run again. Has Fox News propaganda on the economy been so successful that even Democrats have bought into it, or is something fundamentally wrong with the U.S. economy? Given the polls on inflation and its impact, most Americans feel in their bones that this is it – some kind of turning point. Economists aren’t so sure, as current employment figures are historically excellent and the inflation by no means that severe or endemic; but then economists rarely agree about anything. Biden’s age is a reality that cannot be denied; but who’s the viable alternative?

Is Trump going to run? Spoiler Alert. Trump is always running. Any change in the rhetoric is (within a small margin of error) a tactical move. In this case he’s trying to distract from the Jan. 6 hearings. Trump and Musk are Feuding. Trump called Musk a bullshit artist. (Takes one to know one, eh?) It’s all for show, grab a box of super-salty, greasy popcorn.

Pinned Point: Until the filibuster rules are modified, most of the Biden agenda will not pass the Senate.

Quotes of the Week

The womb is the only organ in a woman’s body that serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being.

Brad Tschida, former Montana House Majority Leader (R), current Montana Senate candidate. 

As long as I’ve been alive, settled case law in the United States has been that the Constitution protected the right to privacy. And that has now been thrown out the window by justices, including Justice Kavanaugh, who as I recall swore up and down in front of God and everyone, including the United States Congress, that they were going to leave settled case law alone.

Pete Buttigieg on Fox News Sunday, 7/10/2022. 

 

[The IUY Weekly Journal assumes readers are at least casually familiar with names and events. For more details, check with internet search.]

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