This Ain’t About Freedom
Plus, here’s Why Capitol Insurrectionists Are Being Charged Under a Post-Enron Law
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One of the subtle evolutions of American conservatism under Donald Trump has been the transformation of gun culture from an enthusiasm for freedom to a mechanism for instilling fear.
Because if you look beyond the statements of faux patriotism and the claims of gun fetishists to be defending the Constitution, what you see is something that looks like early-stage fascism.
Consider the lionization of Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse is a high school dropout turned vigilante who went out of his way to insert himself into a situation that resulted in him killing two human beings. Both Rittenhouse and the men he killed were idiots, all in the wrong place at the wrong time and had the situation developed slightly differently, it could have been Rittenhouse who was shot dead and the other guys who were acquitted under the banner of self-defense.
Rittenhouse isn’t a hero. He’s a cautionary tale about what can happen when gun owners act irresponsibly. And yet the conservative movement has treated Rittenhouse like a conquering warrior: Donald Trump brought him to Mar-a-Lago. He’s been feted by Fox News. And just days ago Charlie Kirk introduced him to a standing ovation at a large gathering of Republicans. “You are a hero to millions,” Kirk said. A hero for doing what? Looking for trouble, finding it, and killing two people.
Join Tim, Mona, Bill and Ben for the January 13 edition of Thursday Night Bulwark at 8 p.m. ET.
They’ll discuss the sedition indictment, Kyrsten Sinema’s filibuster stance, and what Biden can (or has to) do before the midterms.
TNB is exclusively for Bulwark+ members! Sign up today and see what you’ve been missing.
The behind-the-scenes evidence presented during the upcoming primetime Jan 6 committee hearings will be "compelling" and "shocking," and will be directed to an audience who's going to go out and vote. Rep. Adam Kinzinger joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
All told, the argument that this statute doesn’t fit the alleged crimes is a stretch. If you read the plain language (rather than delve into the reasons behind the law), the defendants’ argument that it’s too narrow to cover the Jan. 6th crimes is not totally meritless, but it is weak.
The original statute dates back to the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982, a bill intended to “provide additional protections and assistance to victims and witnesses in Federal cases.” The law effectively criminalized federal witness tampering or retaliation. Although it gained wide bipartisan support, the bill was part of a years-long Republican emphasis on victim issues during an era when Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a “Victims Rights Week.” As DOJ explains on its website, “the federal criminal justice system cannot function without the participation of witnesses” and “the complete cooperation and truthful testimony of all witnesses.” Section 1512 thus made it a crime to kill, use or threaten to use physical force, knowingly use intimidation, or corruptly persuade another person to “influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding,” among other things.
A new subsection to the statute, § 1512(c), was added in 2002 through Sarbanes-Oxley, which was a legislative response to the Enron accounting scandals that rocked the financial markets. The accounting firm for Enron, Arthur Andersen, shredded audit documents to conceal them from the Securities and Exchange Commission. A jury later found the accounting firm guilty of obstruction of justice. Accountant David B. Duncan testified at trial: “I instructed people on the [audit] team to follow the document-retention policy, which I knew would result in the destruction of documents.”
High court spikes Biden vaccination large employer mandate. But the court did keep the one for medical institutions that accept federal funds.
Marsha Blackburn’s fake outrage… Over a Biden nominee and his three old delinquent speeding tickets.
The ethics of a second chance… A man successfully got a pig heart transplant recently, and that’s a huge advance for science. But what if the patient basically killed somebody years earlier in a stabbing?
Texas public officials can no longer promote voting by mail… A stupid new law out of the Lone Star state.
Speaking of Texas… The Texas Guard is denying hardship requests to soldiers who have been assigned to protect the border. Military.com has the report.
Turns out the cruelty being the point just doesn’t apply to those wanting to come to America, it also applies to those who are here, serving their country.
The forgotten sponsors of Brandon Brown… Talk to a racing reporter about the viral NASCAR racer who was the inspiration for the “Let’s Go Brandon” meme.
Road rage and justice… Yesterday, I discovered this bizarre video from Australia where a guy tried literal highway robbery waving an axe. He was arrested. The video is bizarre. Thankfully we don’t have video of this road rage incident, but suffice to say, the aggressor here shouldn’t have owned a firearm after the first incident a few years back.
Journalism can be a team sport! Especially when elected officials are acting like jerks.
The new COVID fatalism… Olivier Knox delves into how the Biden White House has adjusted its messaging on COVID.
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