Congress Obstructs Itself

we the people

We used to leave partisanship at the water’s edge. Now we can’t even leave it at the jailhouse door.

Politico: Republicans livid over Nadler’s ‘cover-up’ accusation 

Senate Republicans are fuming after Rep. Jerry Nadler accused them on the Senate floor of engaging in a “cover up” to protect the president, seizing on his remarks Wednesday as a significant misstep that they say undercuts Democrats’ impeachment case.

The fact that it might be true only amplifies the display of crocodile tears from a defense that has no facts with which to defend itself. Thus, the traditional “ad hominem in substitute for debate or thought.”

Last night, it became apparent that the “Know Nothing Party” that presaged the divisions leading to the first Civil War has been replaced by the “I Don’t WANNA Know Nothing Party”  presaging the second.

orwell 2020

The thing that struck me hardest was the outright mendacity of Jay Sekulow, Presidential Attorney, professional prig and shyster for “decency.” Wikipedia:

After graduating from law school, Sekulow worked at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a prosecutor with the tax litigation division for “about 18 months.” In 1982, he opened a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, with former Mercer classmate Stuart Roth which soon evolved into a business buying, renovating, and selling historic properties as a tax shelter for wealthy investors. When IRS regulations changed in the mid-eighties, the law firm and the real estate business collapsed. Sekulow and his partners filed for bankruptcy protection in 1987 and were sued by investors for fraud and securities violations. In 1987 Sekulow became general counsel for Jews for Jesus. In 1988 he founded he founded the nonprofit group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE) whose president he is and whose board members are him, his wife, and their two sons.

Hard to believe that such a “moral” mouthpiece would descend into outright, demonstrable lying, but he did, over and over again. As lawyer George Conway noted at 10:15 AM ET this morning on CNN to Jake Tapper, Sekulow was treating the U.S. Senators and the American public  as thought they were “morons.”

Then again, his finances are as twisted as his client’s:

In 1992, Sekulow became the director of the ACLJ*, where he was chief counsel and principal officer in 2018. Sekulow is half-owner of the for-profit corporation Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, incorporated in 2003, whose governor and executive officer is Stuart Roth, his partner in the law firm and real estate business that declared bankruptcy in 1986. From 2011 to 2016, the ACLJ paid the group $23 million, “its largest outside expense.”

Sekulow owns Regency Productions, the company that produces his radio show and was paid $11.3 million by the two charities for production services between 2000 and 2017. Sekulow hosts Jay Sekulow Live!, a syndicated daily radio program broadcast on terrestrial radio, and XM and Sirius satellite radios. This live call-in program focuses on legal and legislative topics. Sekulow is the host of ACLJ This Week, a weekly television news program broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar. [ibid.]

jesus trick or treat 18
Trick or treat for ACLJ!

Politics makes for strange bedfellows, admittedly. Including the doppelganger “ACLJ” a satanic reflection of the ACLU:

* American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is a politically conservative, Christian-based social activism and watchdog for corruption organization in the United States. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and associated with Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The ACLJ was founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson. [Wikipedia]

It seems astonishing that such a “MORAL” Christian gentleman would blatantly lie in the US Senate, in front of the largest audience of his life, but life is filled with contradictions. Certainly, his highfalutin’ public righteousness has not entirely impoverished him nor his family in the pursuit of Jesus’ Peaceful Kingdom on Earth:

In November 2005, Legal Times published an article which alleged that Sekulow “through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle—complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.” In the article, former donors and supporters claimed that Sekulow engaged in a pattern of self-dealing to finance his “high-flying lifestyle.” According to a ranking by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog group, Sekulow was the 13th highest paid executive of a charitable organization in the United States.

ACLJ’s and CASE’s tax returns show that between 1998 and 2011 they paid more than $33 million to Sekulow, members of his family, and businesses owned or co-owned by them; from 2011 to 2015, the two charities paid $5.5 million to Sekulow and members of his family, and $23 million to their businesses. Since 2011, donations to ACLF are routed through Sekulow’s family-run CASE, and many “transactions that benefit members of the Sekulow family are disclosed on the CASE returns, but not the ACLJ’s.” Between 2011 and 2015, the ACLJ, the “public face of the two nonprofits,” collected nearly $230 million in charitable donations.

On June 27 and 28, 2017, The Guardian reported that documents obtained by them confirmed later that “millions in donations” were steered to his family members,[20] that Sekulow “approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60 m[illion] to Sekulow, his family and their businesses”, and that attorneys general in New York and North Carolina opened investigations of Sekulow’s CASE for possibly using pressure tactics in telemarketer calls to raise money which was allegedly misdirected to Sekulow and his family. As of January 22, 2020 there have been no charges or misappropriation of finances charged by any of the named states. [ibid.]

The wages of anti-sin, one supposes.

moneybags

But it didn’t really matter. With one exception, the GOP senators remained a fixed wall of 53 votes against whatever the Democratic 47 votes attempted to amend in order to move the “trial” further from kangaroo to legitimate.

The do NOT want to hear witnesses. They do NOT want to issue subpoenas, and, if they did, they want to make sure that no one hears the testimony UNTIL they have had a chance to hear it in secret and decide whether to KEEP it secret.

Is this how “justice” is served?

Let me quote you my favorite unused portion of the U.S. Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [emphasis added]

Ironically, the first advice given law students regarding the law is to “forget about ‘justice’ kiddies: this is about the LAW.”

Advice that Mr. Sekulow clearly took to heart. And advice that the GOP senators seem to have equally embraced. Yesterday, through vote after vote after vote, congress obstructed itself, accepting outright lies in furtherance of ending a proceeding they don’t want to be participating in at earliest opportunity.

another-piece-of-the-puzzle

That “establish justice” thing was the first roadblock on their journey to Deep Mendacity, and was easily dispensed with. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to hear. They don’t want any facts to prejudice their deep commitment to a man they cannot personally stand, and whom they would not invite to a private family gathering.

There is no mystery in this. The emperor stands entirely denuded.

Sekulow’s multiple, obvious falsehoods were noted only by journalists, but not, seemingly, by “jurors,” sworn to “impartiality” and “justice.”

GOP LIES 0

And while the focus is on Sekulow as our “poster boy” for serpentine persiflage, he is merely symptomatic and characteristic, not in any wise an outlier.

Just a liar. We need not worry about the rest of that pesky Constitution, apparently.

They plan to dispense with the rest of it as casually as they have dispensed with the preamble.

I don’t know what sound kangaroos make when happy and excited, but that’s the sound emanating from the United States Senate right now.

“To my Democratic colleagues, you can say what you want about me, but I’m covering up nothing,” added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally. “I’m exposing your hatred of the president.” [Politico, ibid.]

The “I Don’t Want To Know Nothing Party” has convened.

Shhhhh.

Sen. Graham gets the vapours

Courage.

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