Although the word apocalypse has come to mean something like “ultimate catastrophe,” the original meaning was closer to “revelation.” It evolved from a Greek word that means “to uncover” or “reveal.” An apocalypse in that sense was a time in which secrets were exposed to the light.
We may not be in full apocalypse mode, but we’re awfully close. A lot of information will be trickling out over the next several days, as Trump’s tax returns and the January 6 report are analyzed. Trump’s tax situation already has shown us that the IRS gave him remarkably lax treatment while he was in office, in part because he refused to cooperate with the would-be auditors. But as several news stories are saying today, “it remains unclear” why the IRS just gave him a pass without saying a word about what was going on.
The actual returns will probably show us more red flags than proof of malfeasance. But now that the IRS will get more funds next year, I hope it is ordered by Congress to do a full, deep audit. It seems especially justified knowing that Trump’s company was recently found guilty on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.
About President Zelensky’s speech, which was a smashing success: It’s going to be harder now for House Republicans to cut off military funding, I think. Even so, in the middle of the cheering and standing ovations there sat Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz, who were mostly looking at their phones and revealing themselves to be the assholes they are through the whole thing. I wonder if it suddenly occurred to the two of them that they are part of a minority and not, in fact, the lords of the universe? Nah.
Some Congress critters did skip the speech. I haven’t seen a complete list, but among senators not there were Josh Hawley, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.
When I saw that President Zelensky was not wearing a suit I figured someone on the Right would criticize him for it. Sure enough, Tucker Carlson called him a “Ukrainian strip club manager.” See especially “Putin’s Useful Idiots: Right Wingers Lose It Over Zelensky Visit” at the Bulwark. Lots of outrage about the sweatshirt.
The MSNBC folks were going a bit overboard comparing Zelensky to Winston Churchill, methinks, but in the part of his speech where Zelensky brought up Franklin Roosevelt’s early support for Britain during the Blitz, it occurred to me that would mean nothing to the Right. The MAGA folks especially are unconnected to American history. It might not mean much for the young folks, I don’t know. But it is a fact that the pre-Pearl Harbor, anti-interventionist, America First Hard Right stood in the way of lifting a finger to help Britain under assault from Nazi Germany. And a lot of them were big admirers of Hitler. So there are a lot of parallels to that time and today.
Update: Jonathan Last at Triad points out that Zelensky’s speech would have thrilled Ronald Reagan and John McCain. And even W.
McCain and W. and Reagan would have stood by Zelensky until the gates of hell froze over. And it’s why Donald Trump Jr. and Lauren Boebert and Benny Johnson and Thomas Massie and so many other Republican elites spent yesterday insulting Zelensky. The Republican party—and conservatism—have changed.
It’s not that conservatism has changed. It’s that conservatism has been frozen out by reactionism and fascism. And Reagan got that started, let us not forget, even though I’m sure the result we’re living with now isn’t what he intended. (end update)
It seems to me there’s a real danger of a Russian-Iranian-Chinese axis forming that could challenge the rest of the world. Ukraine’s stand against Russia is making that a lot less likely. I’m not sure Russia has much of a military left. It has missiles and nukes but not much of an armed forces. Yale University Professor Timothy Snyder explains that the money we’re spending on Ukrainian defense is a bargain that is benefiting us greatly. Ukraine is making Europe safer from Russian aggression and making China think twice about taking Taiwan. And the amount we’re spending is a tiny part of the defense budget — a “rounding error,” Snyder says.
In other news — the Senate has passed the omnibus bill to fund the government, and Nancy Pelosi is determined to get it passed in the House this evening.