[Please see the update at the bottom. – J.E.]
The National Pulse’s Natalie Winters reports on Wednesday that House Democrats have introduced a bill to establish a permanent memorial to the 6 January riot.
I hate to be blunt, but allow me to interrupt uninteresting rants about the Democrats being self-absorbed drama queens. That’s not what’s wrong with this. What’s wrong is that it serves to wildly overhype the significance of the undoubtedly bad and eminently punishable, but nowhere near existential, invasion of the Capitol building that day.
I yield precedence to no one in my affirmation that people should be charged and punished for vandalizing the Capitol building and entering it without permission. No one asserted earlier than I did that that needs to happen. Throw the book at them.
Throw the book at them for what they actually did. Not for a concocted narrative about “what happened,” a narrative for which proof has been sorely lacking. There is no evidence for an “insurrection.” We don’t even know the motives of the people who first broke into the Capitol, because none of them has been arrested, questioned, or charged. The several dozen people in the few videos of the initial breaching events are nowhere to be found.
Antifa ~ Straight Up. pic.twitter.com/Po1k5dpxQA
— Red Walrus (@_RedWalrus_) February 11, 2021
We don’t know who they are (the tweep’s assessment notwithstanding), because they haven’t been apprehended. Until those people have been identified, and their motives discerned, we don’t know what this was really all about.
The unanswered questions abound. A narrative about the 6 January riot is flogged relentlessly, but the narrative is overhyped and underevidenced. There is no justification for putting up a memorial to an event for which the evidence to date doesn’t fit the propaganda definition, and in which every narrative subplot keeps falling apart (e.g., Officer Sicknick’s death, which the coroner, in spite of weeks and weeks of delay, simply could not find was caused by the Capitol riot).
As with the Russiagate hoax, there’s a sense that the credulity about the narrative has peaked. That occurred to me forcibly on reading the tweet Liz Cheney used to forward her Washington Post opinion piece on 5 May:
History is watching us. We must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution or join Trump's crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have. https://t.co/K8IAaZyawu
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) May 5, 2021
“History is watching us,” she says. “We must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution or join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have.”
What’s the big crisis here? Why is she still even talking in these terms, much less proposing to demand a showdown over them in the Republican Party?
As far as she’s concerned, what we’ve got right now is the legal outcome of the 2020 election. It’s done. Move on. Trump is out of office, and has no power to do anything other than issue statements on the election’s legitimacy. He holds no branch of government. Activists who agree with him about the election are now … well, they’re pursuing lawsuits, and trying to persuade legislatures. Slow, tedious slogs with tremendous opposition from well-funded Democrats. Trump can’t make anything happen that is not within the bounds of law.
If it wasn’t obvious in the first week after the riot, it has to be by now that Trump had nothing to do with inciting it, much less instigating or plotting it. The difference between Trump and those black-clad thugs bashing windows breaking into the Capitol on 6 January is that we all know Trump’s identity and where he was at the time. Cognizant people, dozens of them, knew his movements and activities that day and in the days beforehand. There could be no hiding it if Trump actually did something to make the riot happen.
There is zero pattern of Trump being involved in any such thing, and manifestly there is no evidence. What is Liz Cheney so fearful of? Why does she demand fealty to a point of view about the 2020 election that she can’t prove, and doesn’t even try to prove – when other people are already prepared to stop arguing about it for the time being, and see what the due processes of law may turn up?
We have the outcome she deems legal, and Trump literally cannot overturn it. If she is afraid an audit of the vote in Arizona may delegitimize the election, why is that? What does she think is going to happen?
Her fear doesn’t make sense, given where we are today; whereas these questions do. It’s odd that Wednesday is also the day we learned that the Democrats opposing the Arizona vote audit have managed to ensure that it won’t actually be an audit.
BREAKING: The Arizona Democrats have settled their lawsuit over the Maricopa County audit. As part of the settlement, the signatures on mail-in ballot envelopes will NO LONGER be verified.https://t.co/P8olPi6Oal
— National File (@NationalFile) May 5, 2021
If you don’t match signatures, you can’t do anything that will give you a true picture of the vote’s validity. The signatures are on the envelopes, not on the ballots; only by matching each signature can you have a useful count of how many ballots there are supposed to be, and how many of them would be deemed valid.
When you have that, you have the important answer about the vote. You cannot know which votes, or for whom, were invalid, because you can’t identify which ballots are the invalid ones.
But if all the signatures can’t be matched, you know that some had to be invalid.
What to do about that isn’t obvious or predetermined, especially at this late date. It’s something the state legislature would have to decide.
But of course people want to know that about the election. Every election should be held in such a way that it can be readily discerned. Seeking to determine whether all the ballots were valid is responsible and prudent; what’s paranoid and nutty is what the media, Democrats, and Never-Trumpers have been doing to prevent such a determination and demonize the very idea of it.
“Democracy” must be a weak and unworthy system if it requires such bad-faith interventions to preserve it.
The Democrats swarm every effort to audit the vote with a stampede of lawsuits, demanding to interdict the most ordinary, commonsensical measures like signature-matching.
Never-Trumpers rail against the possibility that Trump may reiterate his well-known objection to the 2020 vote, something they apparently go in terror of, in spite of the fact that they and the Democrats and the media already have the outcome they prefer, and there is no foreseeable path to “undoing” it.
All of them continue to hype a Swiss-cheese narrative about the 6 January riot, endowing it with an aspect of horror that has now become so over the top, it’s comical. The U.S. Capitol, in my lifetime, has been literally bombed – attacked with explosives – by self-styled revolutionists; a president has been assassinated, another hit by a bullet, and another (Ford) shot at; the U.S. Supreme Court has been invaded by protesters trying to beat its doors down and interrupt its proceedings during the Kavanaugh hearings; cityscapes across America were permanently altered in the last year by the one-two punch of “public health” lockdowns and a summer of rioting, looting, vandalism, and arson at unprecedented and catastrophic levels; and now we’re supposed to view the unauthorized entry of Viking-helmet guy, who at most got some gratifying video footage of his idiotic escapade inside the Capitol building, as the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”
I’ll take 9/11/2001, thanks, and work my way back from there. The events of 9/11 richly merit memorials. We still aren’t even sure what happened on 6 January 2021. A propaganda narrative isn’t certainty or evidence; it’s hype. Putting up a memorial to a propaganda narrative is a Big Lie practice like those of Mao, Hitler, and Stalin. It’s not about the memorial; it’s about using it to dominate the public narrative. No.
*UPDATE*: Kelli Ward, Chair of the Arizona GOP, has put out a tweet clarifying the lawsuit settlement by the Democrats (referred to in the text above) as regards verifying signatures. The change doesn’t alter the point that the “audit” being done by Cyber Ninjas is not really an audit, because it turns out that it was never in the scope of work for the agency to verify signatures.
— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) May 7, 2021
I am not altering any of the text, because the point about verifying signatures being essential to a full forensic audit stands. Without the baseline of signature verification, it’s just a recount. All it does is compare one count to a previous one, without looking at the most basic process feature that could indicate tampering.
I hope there will be enough substance in the review of the vote to do some good.
Meanwhile, Kelli Ward is right, of course, that the Democrats’ depiction of the settlement is misleading, in that it suggests it will change what Cyber Ninjas is to do. The announcement about the lawsuit settlement is intended to obfuscate what’s going on and make it appear as if the Republicans and Cyber Ninjas had to make concessions.