Did you enjoy the trial today? Yeah, me neither. I would put it on and then turn it off and then go back to it and turn it off. That Trump lawyer, Castor, was incoherent and off his rocker, rambling off into never-never-land. My favorite bit was when he said Trump should be arrested and put on trial in a real court. "A high crime is a felony, and a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor. After he’s out of office, you go and arrest him… The department of justice does know what to do with such people." I know it's important but I just can't stand it anymore. In her NY Times column yesterday, You May Want to Forget Him, But Trump’s Trial Must Be Thorough, Michelle Goldberg is urging that the process include calling witnesses, which means it could takes weeks and weeks. Lindsey Graham or one of the Trumpists even threatened to call Biden as a witness if the Democrats call any at all. And I gather Pelosi and Biden want this over with fast and oppose witnesses being called. Goldberg's point is that though the "trial will almost certainly not bring justice, because Republican senators make up half the jury, and even if many of them privately disapprove of Trump’s insurrectionary attempts to cling to office, their base does not" [and] If this process drags on, it will slow the urgent work of passing an economic rescue package, increasing human suffering and possibly the chance that the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene will retake the House in the midterms... it is still crucial that... the House impeachment managers take all the time they need to make their case... [I]f they miss the opportunity to give the country the fullest possible picture of Trump’s treachery, that sacrifice will be in vain," the real jury in this case being the American people, not a pack of corrupt senators.
David Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntyre weren't writing about the trial per se. Their reporting was about how the GOP allied itself with militants and domestic terrorists. Have you noticed that the DWT Midnight Meme columnist, Noah, has basically stopped referring to the GOP as the Republican Party and calls them the Domestic Terrorist Party now? Writing from Lansing, Michigan, Kirkpatrick and McIntyre noted that "Dozens of heavily armed militiamen crowded into the Michigan Statehouse last April to protest a stay-at-home order by the Democratic governor to slow the pandemic. Chanting and stomping their feet, they halted legislative business, tried to force their way onto the floor and brandished rifles from the gallery over lawmakers below. Initially, Republican leaders had some misgivings about their new allies. 'The optics weren’t good. Next time tell them not to bring guns,' complained Mike Shirkey, the State Senate majority leader, according to one of the protest organizers. But Michigan’s highest-ranking Republican came around after the planners threatened to return with weapons and 'militia guys signing autographs and passing out blow-up AR-15s to the kiddies on the Capitol lawn... To his credit,' Jason Howland, the organizer, wrote in a social media post, Mr. Shirkey agreed to help the cause and 'spoke at our next event.'"
Following signals from President Donald J. Trump-- who had tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” after an earlier show of force in Lansing-- Michigan’s Republican Party last year welcomed the support of newly emboldened paramilitary groups and other vigilantes. Prominent party members formed bonds with militias or gave tacit approval to armed activists using intimidation in a series of rallies and confrontations around the state. That intrusion into the Statehouse now looks like a portent of the assault halfway across the country months later at the United States Capitol.
...Six Trump supporters from Michigan have been arrested in connection with the storming of the Capitol. One, a former Marine accused of beating a Capitol Police officer with a hockey stick, had previously joined armed militiamen in a protest organized by Michigan Republicans to try to disrupt ballot counting in Detroit.
The chief organizer of that protest, Meshawn Maddock, on Saturday was elected co-chair of the state Republican Party-- one of four die-hard Trump loyalists who won top posts.
...The lead organizer of the April 30 armed protest, Ryan Kelley, a local Republican official, last week announced a bid for governor. “Becoming too closely aligned with militias — is that a bad thing?” he said in an interview. Londa Gatt, a pro-Trump activist close to him was named last month to a leadership position in a statewide Republican women’s group. She welcomed militias and Proud Boys at protests, posting on the social media site Parler: “While BLM destroy/murder people the Proud Boys are true patriots.” Prosecutors have accused members of the Proud Boys of playing a leading role in the Jan. 6 assault.
Two weeks after the Statehouse protest, Mr. Shirkey, the Republican leader, appeared at a rally by the same organizers, onstage with a militia member who would later be accused of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“Stand up and test that assertion of authority by the government,” Mr. Shirkey told the militiamen. “We need you now more than ever.”
...Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing, were reported to have associated with militia members in Michigan, though Mr. Olson said they had been turned away because of their violent rhetoric. In the aftermath, militias were largely exiled to the fringes of conspiracy politics, preparing for imagined threats from the New World Order.
But in recent years, as the Republican Party has drifted further to the right, these groups have gradually found a home there, said JoEllen Vinyard, an emeritus professor of history at Eastern Michigan University who has studied political extremism. Much of their cooperation is centered on defending gun ownership, she said.
“I think there is a fair amount of sympathy in the Republican Party for these people that wasn’t there in the past,” Dr. Vinyard said. “It’s a much closer relationship now.”
If Michigan Republicans and militant groups had increasingly found themselves sharing the same ideological space, their common ground became literal last year, as an escalating series of events drew them together for protests and rallies. They began with objections to the governor’s lockdown orders.
Republicans have controlled both houses of the Michigan Legislature for a decade and held the governor’s mansion for the eight years before Ms. Whitmer took office in 2019. Mr. Trump’s brash nationalism had alienated moderate Republicans and independents while pushing the party to the right.
...As the counting showed Mr. Trump had lost the pivotal state, Michigan Republicans began a two-month campaign to overturn the result and keep him in power, channeling the momentum of the previous year’s battles over Black Lives Matter and Covid-19.
Mr. Kelley, with Mr. Howland and their armed militia allies, showed up for a rowdy protest outside the ballot counting. Later that month Mr. Kelley told a rally outside the Statehouse that the coronavirus was a ruse to persuade the public to “believe Joe Biden won the election,” The Lansing State Journal reported. One woman held a sign saying “ARREST THE VOTE COUNTERS.”
When attempts to stop the counting failed, Ms. Maddock in December led 16 Republican electors trying to push into the Michigan Capitol to disrupt the casting of Democratic votes in the Electoral College. During a “Stop the Steal” news conference in Washington the next day, she vowed to “keep fighting.”
Marching toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, she tweeted that the throngs were “the most incredible crowd and sea of people I have ever walked with.”
She also pushed back on Twitter against an observer urging Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, to take control of his party. “That’s where you’re very wrong,” she said. “It’s Trump’s party now.”
Indeed it is-- and it will be interesting to see how domestic terrorist Ryan Kelley does in the GOP gubernatorial primary next year. No serious candidates have announced yet but NRCC chair Ronna McDaniel Romney is in the mix, as are former Senate candidate John James, right-wing comedian Steven Crowder and a gaggle of current and former congressmembers and state legislators. Candice Miller and Mike Shirkey have already announced they're not running. His state Senate district (Branch, Hillsdale and Jackson counties), is a lot safer for Republicans than the state as a whole. His district voted for Trump (61.3%) in 2016 and 2 years later for James for Senator (58.7%) and Schuette (56.5%) for governor. And Shirkey would like to keep his power and keep drawing a government paycheck. The legislative districts are very gerrymandered in favor of the GOP and the Republicans hold a 20-16 majority in the state Senate (with red-district 2 vacancies). And although 3 Michigan counties that voted for Trump in 2016-- Kent, Saginaw and Leelanau-- flipped to Biden in November, Shirkey's 3 counties opted for Trumpistan instead of the U.S.:
Today, the Detroit Free Press reported that Shirkey, under pressure from militant psychos at the Hillsdale County Republican Party-- who censured him-- said that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was not carried out by Trump supporters , calling the idea a "hoax" and stating that the attacked was "staged." By now you may be wondering if Shirkey is certifiably sane or not. The Free Press reported that he took "aim several times at the governor in the video, sexualizing her in comments about budget negotiations and saying he contemplated challenging her to a fistfight outside the state Capitol. The Senate leader also acknowledges discussing the general election results during a November meeting with Trump at the White House."