Links and Comments: Some Good News, and the FBI

Some recent news is actually quite good.

  • Kansas voters chose to keep protections for abortions in place that the Republicans would like removed;
  • Congress passed a big bill, nominally to reduce inflation, that is the biggest funding of climate change action in decades;
  • Conspiracy theorist and con man Alex Jones was convicted.

I’ve covered the first item.

The key point of the second is that all Republicans voted against it. I think I read that Mitch McConnell dismissed climate change as being something that only 3% of the population cared about, and anyway inflation, so Republicans, who apparently don’t understand risk assessment and mitigation, who take no responsibility for anything on the planet including the fates of their own grandchildren beyond the next election cycle, are again’ it.

And as for the third item, I’ve in recent years reached the conclusion (and this supports it) that most conveyors of conspiracy theories don’t really believe what they’re pedaling, they do it just to play the marks who will believe anything they say. They get a thrill out of it. Oh, and to make lots of money doing so, as Alex Jones has. Needless to say, many, including Republican politicians, still defend him. They’re either suckers themselves, or pandering to their base.

And the latest big news item is that the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound, and Republicans are outraged. Meme on Facebook: the number of times Trump said that no one under FBI investigation is qualified to become president. (example.) Now the loonies on the right, those law-and-order conservatives, want to defund the FBI, and threaten civil war. This is why Merrick Garland is so reluctant to bring charges against Trump. He would risk his life to do so.


Let’s glance over the key sites and see the current status of this latest issue.

Vox, Zack Beauchamp, 9 Aug 2022: The Republican response to the Mar-a-Lago raid should scare you, subtitled, “Leading Republicans are in thrall to a dangerously conspiratorial view of the US government.”

After news of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home broke on Monday night, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responded by openly threatening Attorney General Merrick Garland.

… Here you have the likely next speaker of the House claiming without the tiniest shred of evidence that the Justice Department is persecuting a former president — and vowing to use his authority to punish them as a result. His response to his baseless claim of the politicization of investigative powers is to promise a politicized investigation of his own.
McCarthy was far from alone.

None of these Republicans who decried the FBI raid as politically-motivated, some noted somewhere, so much as suggested that Trump would never do such a thing as steal classified government documents. They don’t claim he’s innocent. They’re not that dumb.


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 9 Aug 2022: Trump, Alex Jones and Steve Bannon: GOP goons follow a familiar playbook when accountability knocks, subtitled, “Threats and bluster are meant to intimidate authorities and juries into backing down — but no one should be afraid”


Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, 9 Aug 2022: The Mar-a-Lago Raid Has Led to a Full-On GOP Meltdown, subtitled, “Like the events of January 6, whether this discourse turns into a violent powder keg will be down to Trump, yet again.”

The immediate GOP response to Monday evening’s FBI search for documents at Mar-a-Lago is almost as revealing as the search warrant itself.

Having witnessed the bulk of the party harden its commitment to protecting Trump at any cost after the January 6th attack on the Capitol, nobody should be shocked to learn that ranking Republicans—without any information about what was seized, or why—were willing to stake their political careers on the claim that it was a lawless, partisan “raid.” The darkest versions of these claims called for doing away with federal law enforcement altogether.


The Week, Joel Mathis, 9 Aug 2022: The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. What’s next?, subtitled, “The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web”

Brief compendium, with lots of links, about reactions on all sides.


New York Times, Alan Feuer, 9 Aug 2022: F.B.I. Search Ignited Violent Rhetoric on the Far Right

Subtitled: “Some pro-Trump media figures reacted to the search at Mar-a-Lago with talk of ‘war,’ the clearest outburst of such language since the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”


Washington Post, 9 Aug 2022: Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items

Subtitle on homepage: “The FBI sought a search warrant after National Archives officials pressed Trump’s circle to return what they believed was government property, according to people familiar with the discussions.”


Of course Republicans, like Alex Jones, know that their followers will believe anything.

The Atlantic, David Frum, 9 Aug 2022: Stuck With Trump, subtitled: “He’ll compel loyalty no matter what the FBI finds. If Republicans kowtow, they might as well hand him the 2024 nomination now.”

The former president has discovered a new test of power: using his own misconduct to compel party leaders to rally to him. One by one, they have executed the ritual of submission: Kevin McCarthy, Marco Rubio, even the would-be Trump replacer Ron DeSantis. Maybe they’re inwardly hoping the FBI will do for them what they are too weak and frightened to do for themselves. But outwardly, they are all indignation and threats of retribution.


One more, just for the title (and the photo):

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 Aug 2022: Editorial: On Mar-a-Lago search, GOP sides against the law with a lawless ex-president

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