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For most people, there is little upside to writing about the January 6th hearings, but as you probably know by now, I don’t worry about those things. We all must stand for something. The hearings have almost everyone taking sides before a single witness is called. Democrats believe that the events of January 6th were a calculated effort to undermine our democracy by demolishing two of the most sacred tenants of our nation, free elections, and the peaceful transition of power. Ok, it was bad, but that’s probably a stretch. On the other hand, Trump supporters and most Republicans believe the hearings are a partisan farce and should be completely ignored. That’s so weak – at least have the stones to stand up and make your case to the American people. No matter what I say – I know it will piss off a lot of people, but I am writing this for the grown-ups who read my blog and who have maintained the lost skill of being able to disagree with civility and intelligence. I also thought that rather than just stating my opinions, it might be more interesting to provide a fictional perspective for both sides to consider. The only question you should ask yourself is if you would support a congressional investigation if the following had occurred:
Incumbent President, Barack Obama loses his re-election campaign in 2012 to challenger, Mitt Romney. Rather than concede, Obama claims widespread voter fraud and labels the election “The Big Steal”. Obama takes his claim to the courts and loses 59 out of 60 lawsuits. The one win was about process, not voter fraud, and therefore has no impact on the election result. Several of the cases Obama lost in court were presided by judges appointed by Obama himself. Obama pressures election officials from his own party in Georgia and Arizona to overturn election results. They refuse Obama’s demands citing there was no evidence of fraud. Obama calls them all DINO’s – “Democrats in name only”. Obama’s own Attorney General confirms that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and that he lost the election fairly. Obama responds by demanding his immediate resignation. With no options left, Obama tells his Vice President that it is within his power to reject electoral college votes and certify Obama the true winner of the election. The Vice President chooses to avoid a constitutional crisis and instead does what every Vice President has done before him and certifies the electors, thus declaring Mitt Romney the duly elected President of the United States. On January 6th, Obama conducts a rally in Washington, D.C., where he reaffirms his claims that the election was stolen; enraged supporters storm the Capitol building chanting “hang the Vice President”. The rioters severely vandalize the Capitol building, and one Capitol police officer is killed, and many others are injured. End of Story.
If you’re a Democrat, I hope you’re not feeling too self-righteous. Most of you didn’t support the impeachment hearings for Bill Clinton when there was credible evidence that he had perjured himself and took advantage of a young female intern. Instead, Democrats claimed that regardless of the President’s actions, which were both illegal and unethical, the entire investigation was a political witch hunt, and it had nothing to do with the origins of the investigation – which was really about an investment scheme known as “Whitewater”. If you’re saying that the actions of Bill Clinton were nothing close to the actions of Donald Trump, you’re missing the point. The question is whether Clinton’s actions merited an investigation, and I think now that we have had time to consider things, we all can agree the answer to that question is yes.
I know some people believe that rioters were actually Biden supporters or Antifa pretending to be Trump supporters in order to make the former President look bad. This conspiracy theory has since been totally disproven. However, if you still believe it, you really need to take a break from sources where you get your news…seriously! Notwithstanding the actual perpetrators of the riot, there is nothing in this fictional story about Obama that didn’t occur in 2020 – and none of it is in dispute. Now, if you’re a Republican, can you honestly say that the above scenario would not have merited an investigation? Or would you be calling Obama the biggest threat to our country since the civil war?
My honest opinion of the hearings is that they need to happen. Will there be theatrics? Sure, there will be, but people with open minds, if there is still such a thing, deserve to hear directly from the people who were involved. Do I think the hearings will prove that Donald Trump is guilty of anything other than being crazy or delusional? I don’t think so. Being crazy or delusional is not a crime. Look…Hypothetically, if someone says that a particular politician deserves to be shot and some nutjob shoots that person; is that person guilty of murder? Probably not, but that person would still be a reckless jerk who should be shunned. What occurred on and around January 6th was definitely not ok. It was horrible, and people should have the opportunity to learn more about what actually happened. Will it matter? Probably not today, but history will have the benefit of time, and people in the future will be able to make their own judgments – whether we like it or not.
This week, in a brief to the judge of a major antitrust lawsuit known as Nosalek, the U.S. Department of Justice called for decoupling buyer and seller agent representation. If the DOJ gets what it wants, it would mean that listing agents would no longer be permitted to share their commissions with agents representing buyers, and buyers would have to pay out of pocket to have an agent represent them.
I was in D.C. on Friday for the celebration of life for my friend, Dave Stevens. Dave was a former FHA Commissioner under Barack Obama and an icon in the mortgage banking industry. I was lucky to know Dave as a good friend.
If you’re not familiar with the Sitzer class action lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and several of the largest real estate brands, it centers on how real estate agents are compensated. The lawsuit claims that the practice of seller and buyer agent cooperation or sharing of commissions is an anti-trust violation and has resulted in inflated commissions paid by consumers. While a jury in Missouri has already sided with the plaintiffs, the judge has not rendered a final verdict.