That’s What Ails Us Now

It’s time to Break It Down!

COVID-19 developed into a genuinely serious matter circa March 2020. It was during the month of March when the NBA shut down its Regular Season, the NCAA canceled its Basketball Tournaments, and restaurants, schools & colleges, churches, and a host of other establishments either shut down, or greatly curtailed their services and accessibility. As far as we could tell, life as we knew it, forever changed. Troopers that we Americans are, we marched on, figuring out our latest new normal. But wait; roughly 10 months later, just when most Americans thought things wouldn’t or couldn’t get much worse, along came the events of January 6, 2021, for all practical purposes saying something akin to, “Hold my beer!”

So here we are, almost two and a half years after COVID grabbed us by the neck, literally choking the life out of over a million of our fellow Americans, and over a year and a half since an insurrection kicked us in democracy’s gonads, with the unfolding of a violent uprising in and around the U.S. Capitol, symbolic Citadel of our nation’s government. Perhaps the most spiritually debilitating aspect of these two impositions upon our way of life is, neither has been vanquished. Americans are still contracting cases of, and in too many instances, dying from COVID. And yes, we are also reminded daily of the lingering consequences of what many argue was a straight up coup attempt.

We continue to be confronted by new variants of COVID. The most recent strain is Omicron BA.5. Just know, COVID is still with us. Some experts say it will be like the flu, with new variations springing up in perpetuity. I do not know whether that’s true. I do know…it’s still here. Conduct yourselves accordingly.

As for the insurrection, the House January 6 Select Committee continues its work. The committee conducted its seventh day of hearings yesterday. The focus was on zeroing in on the connection between Mr. Trump and extremist groups. The committee showed that the former president and his allies interacted with these violent groups and provided evidence that some rally organizers even expressed concern about the event, and the people gathering in Washington.

The panel listened to live testimony from a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers, and another person who participated in the riot, in addition to showing clips of the deposition of former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. The committee cannot bring charges against Mr. Trump. However, its principal mission has been to uncover the full scope of his attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power, and to connect his actions to the violence at the Capitol. The Justice Department (JD) is the ultimate arbiter of whether to bring criminal charges.

This is where I do as I often have, and express supreme skepticism regarding whether any charges will be leveled against Mr. Trump. To be clear, not because I believe charges are not warranted, but due to the convolution and complexity involved with navigating such charges in an environment in which the prospective defendant might also be a major political party’s nominee for President, and as such, the chief political rival of the President…or whomever becomes the other major party’s nominee. In addition to skeptical I’m also cynical. I believe that is the number one reason why Mr. Trump wants to be his party’s standard bearer, and of course, President, again. It’s difficult to imagine a greater incentive than keeping his name off the police blotter, and his rear end out of the hoosegow.

Perhaps the two pending items garnering the most attention surrounding the committee’s work, now, are:

First, Vice Chair Cheney noted near the end of the hearing that the panel had forwarded information to the JD regarding a yet to appear witness whom Mr. Trump had attempted to contact, prior to providing their testimony. The individual, reportedly, did not take Mr. Trump’s call, but had their attorney contacted the committee, which in turn, referred that info to the JD.

Second, Steve Bannon, who initially spurned an invitation, and subsequently a subpoena, to testify before the committee, earning a contempt of Congress citation, and an ensuing court appearance, has recently changed his tack, and volunteered to testify…in a public hearing. Other witnesses have testified first in private hearings before their public testimony. It is certain that Bannon hopes to explode and create chaos in the process and change the focus by sidestepping the private hearing, and launching, on air, into the kind of diatribe that is his stock and trade. It remains to be seen whether the committee will put the rabbit in the briar patch. Of course, a morose Trump, utterly frustrated that no one is defending him at these hearings aided in facilitating Bannon’s changed tune by giving him a letter, ostensibly releasing him to vigorously defend himself. It takes very little insight to understand that Bannon’s main, if not only, role will be to defend Mr. Trump, loudly and passionately. It’s a good deal if they can get it. Touché! “That’s What Ails Us Now!”

I’m done. Holla back!

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