Justice — Maybe Just a Little?

The Judges of the International Criminal Court in the Hague have issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. For a crime against humanity (only one of his many), abducting thousands of Ukrainian children. Such action against such a major head of state is unprecedented. Though no arrest is imminent; Russia does not recognize the ICC (nor, shamefully, does America). But most nations do, and would be obligated to arrest Putin if he’s found in their borders. So now, having made Russia one big prison, he’s confined there himself.

Closer to home, Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan Grand Jury at last seems imminent. What took so long?! The (“alleged”) crime occurred 6-1/2 years ago. Michael Cohen, who acted for Trump in executing it, has already been to prison. How could Trump himself not have been even more guilty? The facts are straightforward. What need for the endless investigation?

It wasn’t just the disgustingness of hush money to cover up adultery. Right before the 2016 election, it constituted a political expenditure whose non-disclosure violated campaign finance laws; and New York business accounting requirements, the crime prompting this indictment.

Trump previously lied that the payoffs (and the sex) never happened. Now he says he was actually the victim of a crime — extortion! Next he’ll claim those porn stars sexually exploited him. Grabbed him by the pussy?

But, as with Putin, don’t hold your breath to see Trump behind bars. He’s still a master at frustrating legal processes, running cases into a quicksand of pettifogging. This one will wind up at the Supreme Court, with a long record of shredding accountability for public corruption. (They’re about to let off New York’s Percoco.)

Trump meantime faces three other separate prosecutions: the Georgia Grand Jury’s on his attempt to engineer 2020 election fraud, and DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith investigating his culpability for both the January 6 insurrectionary violence, and his government document thefts. Here again it’s hard to see the need for lengthy investigations, the facts being open-and-shut in all three cases.

About the documents, I recently saw a commentary by the absurdist Trump-apologist Victor Davis Hanson, with nine numbered points arguing that President Biden’s misfeasance outstripped Trump’s. Never mentioning the wee fact that Trump, unlike Biden, lied to government authorities.

So how will the criminal cases affect Trump’s 2024 campaign?

In July 2015, my very first blog post on his candidacy called it “just one big middle finger, attracting middle finger type people.” Civic seriousness out the window. Eight years on, it’s all the more glaring. With much of the million-plus U.S. Covid death toll caused by Trump’s idiotic handling — and after his literal attempt to overthrow our democracy, which included deadly violence — plus uncountable other grotesqueries — his popularity should skirt zero. At least a solid majority of Americans is repelled. Yet still sizable numbers remain fans. Actually imagining he was a good, even great, president. Probably enough to win him the Republican nomination, especially given winner-take-all state primaries, and non-Trumpers divided among numerous candidates.

His voters are not persuadable; akin to a religious cult movement. I recall one 2020 commentator saying they get access to the same information as everyone else, they just evaluate it differently. Not so. Fox News fans do not know that its leading lights were exposed as monumental liars, promoting Trump’s “stolen election” claim even while privately mocking it as bogus. Et cetera.

So even if a New York jury convicts Trump, his cultists won’t confront the reality that their god is a criminal. The counter-narrative will of course be a politically-motivated witch-hunt, the deep state trying to bring down that heroic tribune of the people — his enemies themselves the real criminals.* Like the Pharisees sending Jesus to the cross.

But it should be politically suicidal. Again, a solid sane majority of Americans by now is repelled; and even with all Biden’s negatives, he should win by a landslide. My rational optimist self hopes it would not only sweep Republicans from power all over, but finally lance the boil that has so long afflicted our civic culture. But I’m braced for continuing disappointment.

* Many Republicans believe the QAnon story, including those nefarious liberal elites extracting from trafficked children’s bodies the ingredients for youthifying elixirs. Though Biden-hating QAnoners find no cognitive dissonance in calling him a senile dodderer. No anti-aging elixir for him!

One Response to “Justice — Maybe Just a Little?”

  1. frankzollo Says:

    As you note, neither the US nor Russia recognizes the International Criminal Court, and for the same reason. When Bush and Cheney are in the dock for their war of aggression against Iraq, perhaps the US will have a smidge of moral authority to be gloating about Putin.

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