The Ides of September and Everything After

The Whistleblower Always Whistleblows Twice

So, this thread.

I think it's pretty spot-on in its analysis, with a few caveats.

One is that Greg is doing analysis, as I do, and not reporting new facts he has uncovered, so when I say "spot on" what I mean is that he has identified the most likely and significant possibilities, not that he has 100% nailed the sequence of events. I understand why he included the bioweapon facility explosion in the timeline, but I doubt we'll know any time soon how or if it relates to the rest of it. I agree with him that Putin is the only person that makes sense for the recipient of the promise... but I also know that Donald has done a lot of things that didn't make sense. It's possible the promise he made is something ridiculously avoidable to someone he owes nothing to, but from whom he wants something (even just approval). A classic unforced error. 

Putin is the most likely person, but analysis isn't prophecy. 

(And nor is Greg Olear representing it as such, I'm just making it clear what I'm endorsing here.)

My other caveat is... I can't quite share his optimism, at this point in time, about the outcome. I don't doubt that Hair Furor is in a panic and I don't doubt that his foreign handlers are moving to "squeeze the orange" as he puts it while there's still some juice to get out of it.

But the so-called president has conditioned his followers to reject anything that his negative about him. On the news? Fake! From the intelligence community? Deep state! From fellow citizens? Democrats who hate Donald so much that they would rather see America fail than him succeed. Even if they can be convinced that Individual-1 made some perfidious promise to some invidious individual, be ready for sudden experts in foreign affairs to proclaim "big deal, presidents do that, they do this all the time. How about when Obama told Putin he'd have more flexibility after the election? Wasn't that a promise?" and "So he made a promise, so what? If other presidents don't make promises it just shows that their word was worthless." and "He did what he had to do to get the job done."

His own party will remain reluctant to turn on him while his base remains loyal. Many of them probably believe they will bail out before things get too bad, but they have been saying that as things get worse. Each of them is sure that they'll check out when they reach their personal limit, but every time they don't, that limit ratchets up another notch. 

In truth, the real breaking point is when they stop worrying and learn to love the Don... when they give up the pretense of looking for an off ramp, when they admit to themselves that they have no limit.

You may have heard a vivid metaphor before about a frog being boiled alive or cooked on a hot plate... the idea is that by increasing the temperature slowly, it's possible for the frog to not notice it is overheating until it succumbs.

In reality, you cannot do this to a frog. A humble amphibian will notice that the environment is no longer comfortable, and with no particular reason to stay there, it will leave. I mean, for Pete's sake, endothermic animals regulate their body heat by moving from hot areas to cooler ones and vice versa. If a frog could cook to death on a hotplate, they would almost certainly fry on rocks on summer days.

But this cruel experiment could be performed successfully on humans. A human being has survival instincts, but we are not bound to obey them. We have much more sophisticated higher reasoning processes, which we can use to understand the world around us... or to rationalize, explain away, justify. When a room begins to smell of smoke, we can tell ourselves "Surely if something were wrong, somebody would have said something." When it begins to get a bit warm for our tastes, we can push past the discomfort as temporary and say that we will certainly leave before things get too bad.

Greg Olear in his thread says that the wheels of justice may grind slowly, but they grind absolutely.

I find reason for some hope in his thread (and some worry of what desperate people might do in their desperation), but I am sticking with my own formulation, which will be familiar to long-term readers: the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they also grind exceedingly not very fast at all.

Even as I say this, I agree with him that it's not the time for defeatism. It's never the time for "so what?" or "nothing matters" or "he's going to get away with it because he gets away with everything" because there's never any point to those sentiments. If he's invincible, if his reign is inevitable, if nothing does matter... then nothing matters, including the fact that nothing matters. But if he can defeated, if there's a chance he could be brought down, then we have to keep resisting, or that chance doesn't matter.

If he wins no matter what, we might as well go down fighting and make sure that he (and the world) knows he was in a fight.

But if he's a mortal man like any other, and we don't fight, he might as well be the God-King that his trolls on reddit proclaim him to be.

With the testimony Congress is set to hear, there may well be something we can act on in coming days and weeks. It might be a moment where, if we get out and push, we can finally crest the top of this hill and ride down the other side together.

So take heart, keep your chin up and your eyes open, and be ready, friends and neighbors, to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of civic participation.

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