I’ve waited a while to write about the events leading up to and including January 6th, to allow perspective to take shape and for the raw emotions to dissipate.
My initial, emotional reaction to the incident was one of disgust and I actually thought that lethal force should have been applied. Such attacks on our country, for this was clearly an attack, tend to foster such emotions. These were not patriots or heroes fighting against injustice, they were prime examples of cowards wrapping themselves in the flag with their actions driven by false bravado derived from mob mentality camoflaged behind the anonymity of the crowd.
As Samuel Johnson once said,
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”Samuel Johnson
Of course, they weren’t even smart enough to avoid boastful images on social media, but no shock there. This operation, while clearly deliberate and organized, wasn’t conceived at a Mensa meeting.
Having spent twenty years as a police officer, there was no more challenging event than a call for “officer needs assistance.” We tended toward a swift and certain response to render the officer assistance and woe to those who created the threat in the first place.
But the circumstances here were different, and I am in awe of the measured response by those officers who were essentially abandoned by those in command out of a concern more for appearances than public safety.
But now, with the passage of time, several things become evident.
The genesis of this incident—which several law enforcement organizations had more than definitive evidence was being planned, including premeditated violence, for which they should have been better prepared—was begun by a lying President, disingenuous public figures, profit-motivated media hucksters and their snake-oil purveying representatives pretending to be political commentators or factual news sources.
But don’t take my word for it. You can take their own admissions in court as evidence.
Sidney Powell, part of former President Donald Trump’s “nightmare” defense team, in court filings defending her in a suit by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation about the claim that Dominion machines were manipulated to change the election results, admits the hard truth.
In her brief filed with the court Powell, “moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her by Dominion Voting Systems Monday, arguing her earlier claims that Dominion was involved in an orchestrated voter fraud effort were so outrageous that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.”
And how does one define reasonable?
“agreeable to reason (defined as a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.) or sound judgment; logical
capable of rational behavior, decision, etc.”Dictionary.com
Reasonable is the opposite of what these people contended since election day.
Let’s look at those words again. The claims made against Dominion, by Powell, Giuliani, and President Trump himself up to January 6th, were “so outrageous that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact.” https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20519858/3-22-21-sidney-powell-defending-the-republic-motion-to-dismiss-dominion.pdf
Based on such assertion, for it must be the truth if filed with the court otherwise Ms. Powell and/or her attorneys would face disciplinary actions for knowingly filing false documents, then at least one of the attorney’s representing the former President, Ms. Powell in this case, believes only unreasonable people would believe such claims. Thus President Trump, at least in the view of Powell, must be an unreasonable person if he believes the alleged election fraud or is delusional perhaps or, and this is the most likely scenario, knows full well the claims of voter machine manipulation are false allegations and in no way contributed to changing the results of the election.
Yet it hasn’t stopped Mr. Trump from continuing this either unreasonable, delusional, or deliberate false claim which directly agitated the mood of the mob on January 6th and fomented the violence. Mr. Trump can deny he caused the violence, but he needs to explain why he propagated a lie. He, and those followers who bought into this lie, are unreasonable or delusional or intentionally supported a lie to subvert a legitimate election.
And then there’s Tucker Carlson, he’s not really a pundit, news reporter, or political commentator, but he pretends to be all three, badly, on his show. A show that his own court filings admit is entertainment not factual news. Here are the words of the Judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, relying heavily on the filings of the Fox Network lawyers representing Carlson.
“Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”
There’s that word again, reasonable. Here’s more from the court filings.
“As Defendant notes, Mr. Carlson himself aims to “challenge  political correctness and media bias.” Def. Br. at 14. This “general tenor” of the show should then inform a viewer. that he is not “stating actual facts” about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in “exaggeration” and “non-literal commentary.” Milkovich, 497 U.S. at 20-21; Levinsky’s, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 127 F.3d 122, 128 (1st Cir. 1997)). Fox persuasively argues, see Def Br. at 13-15, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer “arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism” about the statements he makes. 600 W. 115th Corp. v. Von Gutfeld, 80 N.Y.2d 130, 141, 603 N.E.2d 930, 936 (1992). Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.”Case 1:19-cv-11161-MKV Document 39 Filed 09/24/20 Page 11-12
The line that caught my eye from the decision, which dismissed the suit against Carlson and Fox because it lacked merit based on the court’s analysis of the type of show and Carlson’s own filings, is the following
“Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.
Simply bloviating does not come to mind when one is considering whether or not to consider a broadcast a reliable source of news.
Fox Network lawyers take it one step further, mocking the legal case made by McDougal’s legal team in their court filings.
“a reasonable viewer of ordinary intelligence listening or watching the show … would conclude that [she] is a criminal who extorted Trump for money” and that “the statements about [her] were fact…Context makes plain, that the reasonable viewer would do and no such thing.” https://www.npr.org/2020/09/29/917747123/you-literally-cant-believe-the-facts-tucker-carlson-tells-you-so-say-fox-s-lawye
What inferences can we draw from this? Quite a few, actually.
The former President clearly stated many times this election was stolen from him (not the American people of course), and fraud played a significant factor despite all the evidence to the contrary. Mr. Trump and those who embraced this contention are “unreasonable persons” to use the language of the courts, or willfully engaged in a concerted and deliberate effort to subvert our government and democracy.
These actions culminated in the violent outburst on January 6th and were inflamed by the actions of people like Sidney Powell, misusing the courts as a mechanism to further their fraudulent agenda, by hucksters like Tucker Carlson masquerading as a journalist when, by his own court filings, he is nothing but an agent provocateur of hyperbole and bloviating rabble-rousing supported because his show is a profit center for Fox News and nothing more, and the once and former President himself who spoke to the already agitated crowd and continued to spread what was nothing more than an absolute lie.
And they all knew it.
That there even exists any doubt that people like Powell, Carlson, and Trump further inflamed the rabble that stormed the U.S. Capitol Building and bear full responsibility, let alone continue to listen to such idiocy, is troubling to say the least.
74,222,958 Americans voted for a lie, were fooled into thinking Mr. Trump had anything but his own interests at heart in seeking a second term or failed to be “reasonable” in their analysis. Let’s hope those who still have some rationality remaining recognize the error of their ways and find Republican candidates worthy of their support.
More important, let’s hope the Republican party weans itself away from the monkey on it’s back named Trump and regains it’s necessary place as a party of respect.
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