It can be difficult to think clearly about things during such painful times.
The nations seem to be lurching toward World War III, the planet is sitting on the precipice of irreversible environmental degradation, and Americans are dealing yet again with the aftermath of another senseless mass shooting.
And the republicans have spent the last month playing footsie with our government.
To be honest, the Toteboard can't help but wonder if that destructive, obstructionist wing of the republican party has been taking cues from Hamas: a feverish hatred of and commitment to the destruction of their perceived enemies, an absolute unwillingness to negotiate in good faith (let alone compromise), a penchant toward indiscriminate bomb-throwing, and (at best) an inhumane disregard for the victims of their attacks. And oh yeah, a total lack of interest in actually governing.
With all of this justifiably consuming most of the news cycle, Trump's ongoing legal dramas have receded a bit from the front page. But plenty has happened since the first Indictment Toteboard almost two months ago: plea deals, contempt fines, death threats, findings of fraud, and so on. The Toteboard especially has its eye on the Georgia Coffee County voting equipment breach, which may ultimately prove to be Trump's Watergate, i.e., a bungled low-stakes operation carried out by a motley assortment of low-level henchmen, that ends up implicating Trump and many of his cronies after all the various chains of command have been untangled. Of course, this can't happen overnight, and that's where all the ongoing investigations and plea deals come in. Fani Willis is starting to look more and more like a brilliant tactician -- her widely cast net (which some derided as overreach) has already begun to land some of the smaller fish in the pond, while she methodically works her way up to that slimy Kingfish wallowing in the ooze and scum at the top. Let's just hope she can assemble a jury without any loco Trumpian holdouts.
In response to all this, Team Trump has buckled down on the strategy that Donald the Dickhead employed throughout his business career, i.e., mounting a seemingly endless series of delays, appeals, and frivolous motions, all with the intent of running out the clock on the various cases. It's clear that a successful prosecution will take a lot of effort, time, money, heart, and resilience, and Trump is hoping that he can win that war of attrition.
Where We Left Off . . .
As you may recall, the debut Indictment Toteboard from last August invited readers to offer their own predictions, wish-lists, and suggestions for new line-items on future posts. And believe it or not, many of those readers were not shy about weighing in with their opinions. Go figure, huh?
For starters, one reader expressed what turned out to be a prescient interest in placing a bet on a specific co-conspirator biting the hand that fed her.
BF: "I'll take Jenna Ellis to flip in the 4th."
Astonishingly, she did turn out to be the fourth one to accept a plea deal, so big kudos to BF! Another reader apparently had a more complicated wager in mind:
SL: "Is there Exacta betting? A daily double, perhaps?"
Not surprisingly, most of the comments concerned whether or not Trump will ever see the inside of a jail, and (also not surprisingly) respondents were in significant disagreement with one another:
BG: "I would bet he does not serve one day in jail."
NW: "I’d sure like them to get to the point, and throw the orange jackass in the hoosegow where he belongs."
DM: "I think he WILL serve jail time. I’ve predicted he’s going to jail from the beginning -- however naive that viewpoint may or may not be -- and despite many people’s denial of the possibility -- because I can’t yet bear to give up on trusting that moral and ethical standards matter in this country. In the same way that I believe MOST people are good at heart, I want to believe, however blindly, that goodness will prevail in this case. Because if it doesn’t, how can we ever trust anything having to do with government again? He is so blatantly hateful, obscene, depraved, perverted, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, evil, conscience-free, and criminal, that to allow him to go free would be to make a mockery of our judicial system."
And finally, one new-ish Toteboard subscriber challenged the unfavorable odds on a related matter, and suggested a new item to track:
BD: "I was a bit surprised to see odds as high as 4-1 for one of them fleeing the country -- I'd put it nearer to even. And you might want to add a line for 'Trump leaves/attempts to leave the country' as well as odds on which country: Brazil, Russia, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, or one of the other Persian Gulf nations.
It's actually interesting that BD raises the possibility of Trump bolting the country. The day after the January insurrection, the Toteboard first brought up the following scenario:
It will take a long time to process all of this, and scholars will be interpreting and reinterpreting the significance for years. But here’s an early, darkly cynical, quasi-prediction of what could be the aftermath. Humiliated by the riots they enabled, full of self-loathing over their two years of sycophancy, and (mainly) fearful of public opinion turning against them, the republicans may decide to offer to “make nice” for a couple of years and stop (or at least attenuate) their obstructionism and appealing to their base’s worst instincts, but at a price. In return, the democrats will have to let them off the hook, i.e., resist throwing their prior fuck-ups in the faces, and erase any vestiges of their destructive flirtation with fascism. Now, any other country might consider a truth and reconciliation commission, but don’t get your hopes up for that, as republicans aren’t terribly big on either truth or reconciliation. Instead, the only way they can rewrite this history is to make Trump, the war-criminal-in-chief, disappear, which means simultaneously curtailing criminal investigations against him and depriving him of oxygen in the media. How does that happen? The same way it does in banana republics and unstable post-colonial dictatorships, by forcing (allowing?) the deposed despot into exile, if any other country would have him. Idi Amin went into exile in Libya, Iraq, and then finally Saudi Arabia. Jean-Claude Duvalier found safe harbor in France, and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (i.e., the last Shah of Iran) made the rounds in Egypt, Morocco, the Bahamas, Mexico, the US, Panama, and then Egypt again. And sometimes, as was the case with Charles Taylor, the villain is eventually extradited back to stand trial for his crimes. As Trump has been the first president to bring our country to the edge of despotism and fascism, it would make a certain historical sense for him to be chased out of the country in disgrace, like any other tin-horn fascist despot.
Needless to say, none of this quasi-prediction has come to pass, at least not yet. In retrospect, it gave far too much credit to both republican voters and officer-holders. Trump remains as defiant as ever, and the partisan stooges and sycophants remain pretty much in for a pound.
The 10/29/23 Numbers:
Trump is indicted at least once more for federal or local crimes: 2-3 (unchanged)
At least one more private citizen files a civil suit against Trump: 2-3 (previously1-3)
At least one specific count in one or more of the current indictments is dismissed before trial: 1-20 (unchanged)
At least one current indictment is entirely dismissed before trial: 20-1 (unchanged)
All current indictments are dismissed before trial: 1,000:1 (previously 500-1)
At least one indictment actually goes to trial before the 2024 election: 2-3 (previously 1-2)
All of the current indictments go to trial before the 2024 election: 15-1 (previously10-1)
None of the current indictments goes to trial before the 2024 election: 3-2 (previously 2-1)
At least one indicted or currently un-indicted co-conspirator flips on Trump: Already occurred (previously 2-3)
Five or more indicted or currently un-indicted co-conspirators flip on Trump: 1-3 (previously 20-1)
At least one co-conspirator leaves or attempts to leave the country: 3-1 (previously 4-1)
Trump leaves or attempts to leave the country: 50-1 (new entry)
At least one judge, juror, witness, or court officer receives verbal threats from Trump supporters: Already occurred
At least one more judge, juror, witness, or court officer receives verbal threats from Trump supporters: Already occurred (previously 1-100)
At least one judge, juror, or witness is physically assaulted (or worse) by Trump supporters: 2-3 (previously even)
At least one Trump supporter will be arrested for threatening to harm or actually harming judges, jurors, or witnesses: Already occurred
At least one more Trump supporter will be arrested for threatening to harm or actually harming judges, jurors, or witnesses: 1-200 (previously 1-90). Note: It is ambiguous whether or not this has already occurred. A Trump supporter was arrested last week in a courtroom for a contempt citation -- it is unknown whether she was planning to threaten or harm anyone before she was restrained.
The Georgia legislature’s Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Committee investigates Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis: 1-3 (unchanged). Note: This one is also ambiguous, as the Committee is considering an official investigation into Willis. This is also a separate matter from that inflamed rectum Jim Jordan using the House Judiciary Committee to harass her.
The Georgia legislature removes Fani Willis from her position as Fulton County District Attorney: 4-1 (previously 2-1)
Trump receives more fines for violating gag orders: 1-100 (new entry)
Trump is arrested and/or (briefly) jailed for violating gag orders: Even (new entry)
One or more of Trump’s co-conspirators serves jail time: 1-3 (previously 3-7)
Trump serves jail time: 100-1 (unchanged)
Trump dies while one or more the current cases is still unresolved or in the appeals process: 3-2 (new entry)
OK readers, keep the comments, predictions, suggestions, and criticisms coming. And let your bookie know if you're ready to place any bets!