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Impeachment: Day One


Schiff poised, dignified. Nunes angry, scowling. “Hunter Biden! Burisma! Democrats!” Well, it’s all he, and Republicans, have. Shiny objects! Wave them in front of everybody’s faces and hope they’ll be distracted from Trump’s real crimes. It’s as if, at Nuremberg, Goering’s lawyer said, “Forget about Auschwitz. What about Roosevelt’s kickbacks from Warm Springs?”

Tribunal Lead Prosecutor: “What kickbacks, herr lawyer?”

“We have reports President Roosevelt is making money from polio babies by selling them candy.”

The Tribunal Lead Prosecutor appears stunned. “Good point!,” he exclaims. “We’re dropping the charges against Goering and instead changing the focus of this tribunal to Roosevelt’s kickback scheme. Herr Goering, you’re free to go.”

Goering: “Dankeschon, herr lawyer. Heil Hitler.”

* * *

Well, the above is an absurd little fantasy, of course, but everything the Republicans at this morning’s opening hearing did is absurd fantasy. The points of order…the constant interruptions to say the words “Hunter Biden” as frequently as they could…the insane theory that it was UKRAINE—not Russia—who stole Hillary’s emails and sent them to Julian Assange…the unbroken, tedious floating of conspiracy theories…the disgusting attempt to smear Schiff’s witnesses…the inability to say the word “Democratic” so that every reference to the party of Adam Schiff (and President Obama) is to “the Democrat Party.” Where and when did that start?

From Wikipedia: “Democrat Party” is an epithet for the Democratic Party, used in a disparaging fashion by the party’s opponents. [T]he term has grown in its negative use since the 1940s, in particular by members of the Republican Party…”.

Those conservative commentators include, of course, Donald J. Trump, who so far as I can tell has never used the word “Democratic” to describe the party since he raised a chubby, small right hand to take the oath of office.

It was impressive to see George Kent and William Taylor start off the proceedings. These are career diplomats and government bureaucrats; it was clear that their only motive is to tell America what they saw and how they felt about it, which was: Terrible, embarrassed, frightened. No American president had ever before attempted to bribe a foreign leader into meddling into U.S. elections in order to further the personal political agenda of that president. Kent and Taylor were appalled. Nobody knows what political party, if any, they subscribe to. It ought to be irrelevant. But Republicans, of course, have so few cards to play that all they can do is revert to their usual games—smears, inuendos, distractions—in the hope of furnishing talking points to Fox “News,” Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and the neo-nazis that now constitute the base of the Republican Party.

* * *

At the Kleindorpf breakfast table, somewhere in the Bible Belt:  

Thelma Kleindorpf: “Dear, I was watching Fox & Friends, and they said this whole Democrat impeachment thing is a scam.”

Adolf “Bob” Kleindorpf: “Why, of course it is, dear. They need to expose the whatchamacallit, the whistle guy, and throw his Democrat ass in jail!”

Thelma: “Now, now, dear, please don’t use dirty swear words in front of little Adolf ‘Bobby’ Junior.”

Bobby Junior: “Mom, I heard that Jesus loves President Trump.”

Thelma: “That’s right, Bobby Junior. Our Lord and Savior raised up President Trump to save us from the Demon-crats.”

Adolf “Bob”: I’ll tell you, if they get rid of Trump, it’s gonna be civil war. Bobby Junior, you locked and loaded?”

Bobby Junior: “Sure thing, dad. Ready to kill those Demon-crats.”

Thelma: “Don’t forget to pray, Bobby Junior. Ask our Lord and Savior to protect our great president.”

* * *

Well, that was another fantasy. There is no Kleindorpf family, or rather, there may be, but it’s strictly coincidence if there is. More fantasy: Let’s now meet the Kleindorpf family’s religious leader, Pastor Kent. Lee Harvey Kent was born to an evangelical family. He grew up on a farm and liked to milk cows. He was called to preach at the age of twelve, when he discovered he had an uncanny knack for exhortation. He now leads Our Savior the Lord’s Church of the Heart, whose congregation includes the Kleindorpfs. He’s married to Patricia “Tina” Kent; they have two children, Bethany, age 12, and Lee Harvey, Junior, 8.

Pastor Kent has several hobbies: bowling, wood carving, and sneaking off to Centerville, the biggest town in the area (population 3,200), where there is a video store on the edge of town, near the last gas station and about a quarter-mile down Tomahawk Road from O’Leary’s Saloon. Once or twice a week, after dinner, Pastor Kent—telling Thelma he has to leave to work on “church business”—goes to O’Leary’s, where he kicks back two shots of Southern Comfort, then proceeds to the video store, which has viewing booths in the rear where, for $1, he can watch five minutes of gay porn. This is Pastor Kent’s favorite form of recreation, next to counting the money in the Sunday tithing bucket. When he’s finished his business at the video store, Pastor Kent drives back home, where, typically, Thelma asks him how his “church business” went, to which Pastor Kent replies, “Fine, fine. Just doing the Lord’s work.”

“Praise the Lord,” says Thelma. “And praise our great president, Donald Trump. And Lord, if it please you, send those Demon-crats to Hell, and burn them in the fire.”

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