Hello, my imaginary horde of faithful readers. I’ve been away for a while, rendered incapacitated by a nasty illness the symptoms of which made coherent thought all but impossible (nothing fatal, though at some points I was starting to wish it was, if it would just end swiftly), but I’m OK now, for a bit anyway; yet I’m still finding it almost impossible to write. Physical pain has given way to despair. I’ve been watching the impeachment inquiry, you see, which to me is a very intense and agitating distillation of everything that’s gone to hell in a hand basket during the Trump era, and my heart has sunk like a stone, plunging towards a rock bottom it never hits.
It isn’t just the ludicrous antics of the Republicans, with Jim Jordan, parachuted on to the House Intelligence Committee specifically to wave his arms around and create distractions, doing his utmost by, among other things, ranting about the now irrelevant whistleblower, or world class stooge Devin Nunes throwing everything at the wall, from the Steele dossier to the alleged anti-Trump bias of the entirety of the US intelligence and law enforcement apparatus, though of course, that’s a part of it. Nunes, in particular, induced cramps and regurgitation with his incredible soliloquy on how the devious Democrats, having struck out in their attempted coup with the failed Russia hoax, carrying on back then as if foreign interference in US elections is some sort of big deal, have now done a cynical about-face by behaving as if the real foreign interference by Ukraine is no big deal at all – thus weaving a tapestry of enormous lies almost too dense to deconstruct, and one which, like all things done in support of Trump’s bizarre QAnon-like conspiracy fantasies, supports nothing so much as the foreign policy buggery of Vladimir Putin.
That’s all sickening, but par for the course. What really got me was this:
Right. Of course.
Since 2015, the establishment media, chasing ratings to the delight of its corporate masters, have been villains as culpable as anyone in this horrible fiasco. They slavishly covered every idiotic utterance Trump expelled from his stupid little pie-hole, challenging none of his lies, and giving him billions of dollars worth of free advertising to the point that they once actually aired about a half-hour’s worth of an empty podium, waiting for Donald to arrive in due course to perform another bloviating lie-fest at another of his Nuremberg rallies, rather than cover Hillary as she gave a policy speech. They amplified to the nth degree the ridiculous non-story that was Hillary’s emails, giving her private server, upon which, let’s be clear, no real secrets were improperly stored, no classified information was ever exposed or compromised, and nothing beyond a trivial and common breach of protocol was ever committed, more ink and air time than all policy issues combined. While unfounded fake news rumours about Hillary’s health and stamina were spread credulously by the networks and newspapers with almost the same lack of editorial vetting typical of the actual fake news on Facebook and other social media, Trump skated on lie after lie, racist rant after rant, even as he attacked, virtually to the point of inciting violence, the very journalists he counted upon to spread his appalling muck as if it was God’s truth, all in the interests of “balance”.
Now yesterday, Bill Taylor and George Kent, two utterly unimpeachable career public servants with first-hand knowledge of events as they developed on the ground in Ukraine over the past year, spoke with eloquence, certainty, and superb attention to detail on exactly what went down. They detailed with complete clarity how official US policy was secretly undermined by a geopolitically disastrous and immoral abuse of power by an unprincipled President and his laughably witless cabal of “irregular” henchmen. They laid out how Sondland, Giuliani, and friends Lev and Igor (for the love of God) were directed by Trump to conduct an off-the-books extortion of an embattled ally in dire straits, the better to rig the 2020 election with fake dirt provided by a fake foreign investigation into a fake conspiracy, with extra bullshit on the side about the Bidens, please – or else. The witnesses laid bare how military assistance already appropriated and dispensed by Congress, assistance which could not legally be withheld absent statutory procedures involving Congressional notification which were not followed, was put on indefinite hold; thus were the screws put to the new Ukrainian President, trying to coerce public Ukrainian buy-in to Trump’s absurdist fantasies about stolen servers and Democratic conspiracies to frame poor, innocent Russia for what happened in 2016. They detailed a time line that showed how Trump’s grip on the military aid was only released in the days after the whistleblower blew the scheme wide open. It was gripping. Absolutely compelling.
In response, all the Republicans on the Committee could do was shout about irrelevancies, while their hand-picked legal counsel tried to neuter Bill Taylor’s testimony with what will surely be the immortal insight that as off-kilter as Trump’s rogue, secret, back-channel extortion efforts were, the infamous hijinks of the “Three Amigos” – no fooling – “weren’t as outlandish as they could have been”. No, Taylor felt compelled to agree, he guessed that had to be true (after all, they could have gone about their skulduggery while also not wearing pants). Meanwhile, the new information that just one day after Trump’s documented, extortionate phone call to President Zelensky, he was again haranguing minion Bill Sondland on whether the Ukrainians were going to play ball – as overheard by witnesses as he barked about it during a call over an unsecured cell phone in a public restaurant – was absorbed without Republican comment or query.
To all this, the media pronounced itself bored. Dreary stuff. All substance. All facts and incontrovertible evidence. No pizzaz. No drama. They were just the same about Mueller’s testimony, remember? All he did was prove the case. Where’s the fireworks? Where’s the yelling and screaming? What fun is all this testimony and factual shit?
This, folks, is why we’re fucked. It’s not just because Trump’s unassailable base will continue to live in its Fox News bubble and take as meaningful the bullshit being spewed by the Republicans, whose faux-logic would once have been transparent to school children. It’s that the mainstream corporate media will pronounce the impeachment evidence to be irrelevant because it wasn’t as much fun to watch as the latest episode of Survivor. It’s bad TV, all this evidence-based case building with which the boring old Democrats insist upon clogging the airwaves. Christ, man, the ratings will just tank at this rate.
Maybe if they started goosing the gallery with “Applause” signs and the like. Add some snap to it, you know? Or maybe the Committee members could come to blows, like they do in the WWE when the interview segments degenerate into brawls. Now that would be an impeachment worthy of the air time, by gum.