Democracy Is Going Down The Tubes…Again
Today’s New York Times (on 9/2/21) is blandly reporting another attempt at subverting the basic fabric of American democracy…or what’s left of it.
The headline reads: McCarthy Threatens Technology Firms That Comply With Riot Inquiry and the teaser under the headline adds this footnote: “The top House Republican said his party would retaliate against any company that cooperated with an order to preserve the phone and social media records of G.O.P. lawmakers.”
This is an illegal, baldfaced, and incredibly cynical attempt to suppress the subpoena power of the Congress by threatening reprisals against companies that comply with an order from a House Committee to preserve records that are relevant to an ongoing investigation.
Such warnings – which are called “records preservation requests” – are a preliminary step toward issuing subpoenas, the equivalent of “Hey, we’re going to subpeona your records and you damn well better have them when we come looking for them.”
Of course, in the real world, we know that it is virtually impossible to erase anything from the internet because you have no idea where it has gone, and where it has been stored, once it has been created. This means that the warnings to preserve the records were really an effort to get the stalled investigation jump-started by triggering the easily-triggered McCarthy into making another one of his anti-democratic pronouncements.
It is deeply ironic that McCarthy and his Republican cohorts are vehemently pursuing an attack on the basic principles of democracy while in the process of attacking the Democratic PARTY for carrying out its sworn responsibilities to uphold the system of government under which we still live…for the moment.
More importantly, however, McCarthy’s threat is a clear indication that there are smoking guns in the collected emails and voice messages of the 11 specifically named Republican congressmen who were named in the warming, a group that includes prominent members of the Who’s Who among the idiot fringe of the Republican party: Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania (according to a NY Times copyrighted article by Luke Broadwater, an award-winning political reporter.)
The records preservation requests went out to 35 unnamed technology firms in the information sphere, including 15 social media companies, which we could all probably name without stopping to take a breath.
What probably happened here was that the 11 House members – and others, possibly including McCarthy himself, have probably attempted to delete all of the incriminating materials, only to be told by their technology consultants that it is impossible for consumers to completely delete all evidence of their activities on the internet.
McCarthy’s threats will probably followed up by attempts to get courts to order the technology companies to delete the incriminating data. Those lawsuits will quickly wind their way up to the Supreme Court, which will then be put on the spot with respect to their commitment to the democracy they are supposed to hold dear.
Don’t hold your breath on this one.
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