Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): British Army Chief warns UK and allies facing '1937 moment'

Our team delayed the formal releases of our weekly Virtual Route 66 until the end of the month as we were assessing the G7 meeting, the ongoing Ukraine War, the NATO meeting in Spain as our team decided to release this very important speech given earlier today by the new Chief of the General Staff for a special edition of "Notations on Our World" .

Monday, June 20, 2022

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week: On the Week That Was

It was quite a week in our World.  On the US Political Scene, the January 6 hearings continued and former President Trump used his TruthSocial Platform to launch attacks and to use a speech in Nashville to undermine the credibility of the committee. 
Beyond the shores of the United States, we have elections in Colombia in Latin America where two anti-establishment candidates are vying to potentially transform.   Further, we have also been assessing the ongoing elections in France.  As we went to press,   President Macron's Coalition had given ground to both the far left and the far right in France which can have profound consequences for Europe.   There is also the ongoing war in Ukraine which continues at a ferocious pace.  This was also a week that saw the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, The Swiss Central Bank and others launch action to curtail Inflation. 
We present a snapshot of the week that was courtesy the Financial Times, The Bulwark, the Washington Examiner , USAFacts and other leading publications in the World: 

Mike Pence looking at a Trump tweet on January 6, 2021. (Via January 6 Committee)

“That declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have plunged America into what I believe would’ve been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America, which in my view, and I am only one man, would’ve been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic.” — Judge Michael Luttig

Take a moment consider this. This is not the hair-on-fire, over-wrought, frantic hyperbole of Resistance Twitter.

The warning about “a revolution within a constitutional crisis,” didn’t come from Rachel Maddow, the guys who run Pod Save America, the NYT’s editorial page, or the usual prophets of Armageddon.

This was Michael Luttig, a conservative’s conservative; a former federal appeals court judge, who was on George Bush’s short-list for the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, because we are all doomed to spend eternity in middle school, much of the buzz yesterday focused on how slowly Luttig spoke. But, my colleague Will Saletan provided a sober counterpoint:

“Every word…”


Try this mental exercise: Imagine that we were learning all of this now for the first time.

Here is Liz Cheney:

On the morning of January 6, President Donald Trump’s intention was to remain President of the United States despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power. Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.

What if…

Instead of having the story come out in dribs and drabs and disconnected details over the last year and half, imagine that this was fresh — and that it was bursting onto the front pages just now:

The depth and scope of the president’s attempts to overturn the election; the bat-shit crazy conspiracy theories; the threats and violence used to intimidate Congress and the vice president; the plot involving fake electors; the danger of extremist groups like the Oath Keepers who mobilized to keep the president in power; the plot to use the electoral count to erase the results of the 2020 election and keep the president in power.

Try to imagine if we were just now hearing secret tapes for the first time exposing the campaign to pressure state elections officials to “find” votes, and state legislators to overturn the popular vote, while the wife of a Supreme Court justice pressured state legislators and others to reject the peaceful transfer of power.

Imagine: What if we were just now seeing videos of the president’s own aides telling him that he was detached from reality; and that his plot was illegal and unconstitutional. What if we just now realized that the Commander in Chief thought about using the military to seize voting machines, and came within inches of subverting the Department of Justice to push fraudulent election claims.

And try to imagine if we were just learning that all of this was launched by a drunken demagogue on election night and a president who surrounded himself with demented loons, grifters, and seditionists.

What if we just now were learning of the criminal conspiracy by a president who had sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." What if the testimony of his closest aides made it clear that the man in the Oval Office was either lying or delusional in his desperate bid to hang onto power?

And bear with me for a moment here:

What if we woke up this morning to the news that he had “specifically targeted his vice president with tweeted words of condemnation,” and turned a violent mob against him. What if we were just learning that confidential informants had told the feds that Trump-supporting members of the Proud Boys “would have killed” Pence during the Insurrection “if given a chance.”

And what if we were just learning today that when the mob began chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” the president said that he “deserved it.”


Three thoughts:

(1) If we had learned all of this at once, it would have been — and this is not hyperbole— a political cataclysm, beyond the powers of even most determined turd-polishers to ignore. There would not be the slightest doubt about the gravity of the crisis or the desperate need for accountability.

(2) Millions of Americans are, in fact, learning all of this for the first time.

(3) I have no idea whether this will make a difference.

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Two things:

(1) TNB last night was very good. I was in the chat dropping bombs and you can’t recreate that magic. But you can watch the rewind here or listen to the podcast version here. You’ll probably want to watch, because Tim looked like a damn movie star last night.

(2) I’m going to be AWOL for the next week. Big Life Change stuff so no newsletters or podcasts from me. And I won’t be responding to emails. Catch you on the flip side from Dirty Jersey.

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Collateral Damage

Lost in the January 6 Committee news yesterday was a ruling in a Delaware court that the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against Newsmax could proceed.

Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages and Newsmax’s first line of defense was something like How could we have possibly known that the stuff we said about Dominion was false!

The judge wasn’t buying it. You can read the whole decision here if you want. It is hot fire.

But it’s also 64 pages long and I don’t expect you to read the whole thing. So I did it for you.

Defamation cases are very hard to prove. But this Dominion suit looks strong.

The first leg of the stool is Dominion proving that Newsmax was peddling false claims. That’s the easy part:

Shortly after Fox called the election for President Biden, to stem the tide and try to  recover lost viewers and former President Trump, Fox changed its narrative and began reporting  that former President Trump lost because of massive election fraud. On November 8, Fox  invited Ms. Powell on the Sunday Morning Futures show and began connecting Dominion with  the narrative of election fraud. Ms. Powell declared that there was “a massive and coordinated  effort to steal this election from We the People of the United States of America, to delegitimize  and destroy votes for Donald Trump, to manufacture votes for Joe Biden,” and that “the  Dominion software” was to blame. According to Ms. Powell: “That is where the fraud took  place, where they were flipping votes in the computer system or adding votes that did not  exist.” . . .

Newsmax promoted a false origin story that Dominion was created in Venezuela by  Hugo Chavez for the purpose of rigging elections. This connection was based on the  verifiably false claim that Dominion is owned by Smartmatic. Smartmatic is actually a  Dominion’s competitor and the two entities are not otherwise affiliated.

On November 10,  2020, Ms. Robinson retweeted the false claim that Smartmatic was synonymous with fraud for most Venezuelans and that Smartmatic is a subsidiary of Dominion. Ms. Robinson’s tweet  claimed that “All crooked roads lead to Dominion Voting Systems.” Newsmax and its on-air  talent sold to the American public the story “that Dominion rigged the 2020 election and stole it  from Trump just like it stole elections in Venezuela for Chavez.”

The next step is proving that Newsmax knew (or should have known) that the claims it was making were false:

[On November 12, 2000] a joint statement from federal, state, and local authorities was published  by CISA confirming that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes,  changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” Newsmax knew about the announcement and “Newsmax’s White House Correspondent, Emerald Robinson, had been responding to and reposting then-CISA Director Christopher Krebs’ ‘Rumor Control Update’ posts debunking  election fraud claims on Twitter since November 6.” . . .

Dominion began circulating an email titled “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT:  FACTS & RUMORS” with links to independent sources disproving claims made about  Dominion.150 Dominion maintained a page on its public website with this information from  November 11, 2020, onwards.

On November 17, 2020, at 3:10 PM EST, Dominion sent its first “SETTING THE  RECORD STRAIGHT” email to Newsmax’s booking producer, Alicia Hesse. Ms. Hesse is  involved with soliciting guests to speak on Newsmax TV, including Mr. Kelly’s show.  Newsmax believes that Ms. Hesse shared the contents of the emails she received from Dominion  with the hosts and other producers for the shows she books. Dominion did not receive a reply  from Newsmax to this email. . . .

On November 17, after Dominion sent the first “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT”  email, Mr. Kelly hosted Ms. Powell on Greg Kelly Reports.156 Ms. Powell claimed to have  “evidence” of “the guy who founded” Dominion admitting “he can change a million votes, no  problem at all” and continued to falsely link Dominion with election rigging.157 Ms. Powell did  not have any such evidence.

There is a lot more on this score.

Trump compares Jan. 6 committee to Russia investigation at faith conference

Trump compares Jan. 6 committee to Russia investigation at faith conference

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Former President Donald Trump used his microphone at a top conservative conference to bash the House Jan. 6 select committee repeatedly — and noted how even CNN has stopped using the term the "big lie."

Read the full story here.

We leave all with the following: