SocraticGadfly: 4/7/19 - 4/14/19

April 12, 2019

Texas Progressives take down current prez candidates,
a former mayor and a former fetus, among others

The Texas Progressive Alliance did not listen to Paul Ryan's advice in putting together this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff cheers the impending settlement of the lawsuit over that bogus SOS advisory about non-citizen voters.

SocraticGadfly shows why, as he sees it, that Pete Buttigieg is so bad a presidential candidate he could be called Beto Lite.

Brains updates his Prez 2020 reporting with takes on Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell.

And plenty on Robert Francis Beto O’Rourke’s very bad week.

The Atlantic busts Robert Francis O’Rourke for telling Trump-style outright lies about campaign stop crowd sizes.

Robert Francis O’Rourke, in a case of brazen pandering, does a post-House, ex post facto flip flop on a vote to approve offshore oil voting and essentially admits the flip-flop is becausehe’s now running for president.

And Big John Cornyn stuff:

The Trib reports details of Texas Democrats’ push to take down John Cornyn in 2020. In related items, Wendy Davis removed herself from seeking the Democratic nomination (thank doorknob) and Kuff still refuses to mention the name of Sema Hernandez among already announced Democrats.

And here are some more posts of interest from other sites.

Former fetus and continuing jackass of the Texas Legislature Jonathan Stickland threw in the towel
on his concealed carry bill — due to somebody more nutty than him threatening Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

The Lunch Tray brings news of a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its efforts to roll back school nutrition standards.

Kate McLean asks how it is that the operator of the second chemical plant in the Houston area to explode received good safety rankings despite a history of being cited for violating safety regulations.

Mean Green Cougar Red has good monarch butterfly news.

Grits for Breakfast has a load of data about arrests for Class C misdemeanors.

Juanita remains unimpressed by Secretary of State wannabe David Whitley.

Beyond Bones tells the tale of when beer saved the world.

The Texas Observer profiles Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo.

Even a Texas GOP consultant says top Rethuglicans may be crying wolf when shouting “socialism” all the time.

Former Dallas City Councilman Dwayne Caraway got almost five years in the Big House
for his role in the Dallas County Schools bribery case.

April 11, 2019

Quick thoughts on the Julian Assange arrest —
and Russiagate and shitloads of whataboutism

Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, here’s a few quick thoughts of mine.

Before all else, the big picture. As Jonathan Cook notes, this has been a politically motivated witch hunt by the US intelligence establishment. And by elected political leaders as well. (That said, I don't think Assange will go down in history the way Cook claims. And, setting aside that Sweden didn't want him, as I've blogged before, per Daniel Domscheit-Berg et al, Assange is a character out of Greek myth — like Agamemnon, or even more, like Atreus, in his hubris.

There's also this question, addressed by me elsewhere: "Is Julian Assange a journalist?"

Next, a metathought.

Per our good friend Idries, from what I've seen in the Blue Wave from Hell called Twitter, there's already a certain amount of twosiderism and whataboutism on this issue.

Now, some thoughts.

First, per that first link above, he wasn’t arrested on Espionage Act charges.

Second, and related, if we do consider Assange a journalist, there is a difference between journalists receiving pilfered documents and materials and a journalist doing the pilfering, or ordering someone else to do so. (The second part of that second clause is not a crime itself, unless the person ordered follows through, of course.)

Related? Ethical journalists, when questioned about sources, simply say "I cannot reveal them," rather than lying about who they are, as I believe Assange and toady Craig Murray did in the DNC email hack, which I call a hack and I believe with good reason. I can indeed say that Assange is lying (as far as I can tell) on this issue, while at the same time his content has been factual. If you don't like that answer, that's your problem, not mine. When the lies are part of traumatizing a family, we're beyond bad journalistic ethics and into plain immorality.

As for that IF in the first paragraph of this section? Given that Assange has edited nothing (and a time or to, left in dangerous information on previous leak releases about the Afghanistan War), and has written nothing outside of Tweets and calls for more information about what he has leaked, I don't see that as quite so open-and-shut as many other members of the media do. If we do call him a journalist, then in my book, it's a journalist with a label.

And, that label is?

The "anti-Beltway steno."

I'll have more on this somewhere down the road.

And, as of April 30, that "somewhere down the road," at least a first pass, is now here.

Second, part two: Twitter "whataboutism" to Assange starts at this point, too. One Twitterer in conversation with me claimed it all would have been easier for Assange if (assuming it was a hack and Guccifer 2.0 is from Russia) he just would have said that right away.

NOT.EVEN.CLOSE. Since Assange's purpose was to defeat Hillary Clinton, with "reporting news" a distant second, admitting he got this stuff from a Russky would have probably made it too hot for even Trump to directly handle. It also would have opened the door for Obama to publicly investigate this during the election. It would have been worse for Assange and far worse for his mission.

I first tackled the "Russia connection" and Assange 18 months ago.

Update, July 9: Given that a new Yahoo News bombshell says Russian foreign intelligence was behind the Seth Rich conspiracy theories, even if the Espionage Act shouldn't apply to non-Americans, admitting he got these emails from Russia would hugely increase his legal liability.

The piece is by Michael Isikoff, who's had a fairly deep dive into Russiagate stuff, I know. But, as I've seen elsewhere, the timelines align with Google Trends information on when Seth Rich information started trending.

Second, part three:  This all said? Do I think he is a journalist? Yes (with reservations), as does the New York Times lawyer.

As a journo, do I think, like many Gnu Media Beltway stenos, that, in his own way, Assange is an opiner first, a news writer second? Yes. Well, by choosing to not seek out leakers from Russia, China, etc., then bullshitting about why he doesn't, and by the fact that he doesn't write anything himself, he's really an opiner/news releaser.

Third, that "hidden" DOJ indictment was clearly real, even if bullshit.

Fourth, we now know why Chelsea Manning was dragooned before a grand jury fishing expedition. That said, she said way back when that she acted on her own the whole time.

Fifth, we don't, yet, know what the payoff was to the President of Ecuador — if any. Belying his first name, Lenin Moreno has moved further and further rightward since being elected. But, there does still seem to have been some degree of coordination with the US government. Per the top link, the offense has an eight-year statute of limitations, and Assange was indicted under seal right at the end a year ago, and the plans have been there to take him at some time.

Sixth, if Assange had not been in the Ecuadorean Embassy, the US would have gotten somebody else to seize him on a legitimate warrant, even if for a bullshit or semi-bullshit crime. And that would be proper under international law. I’m not justifying the charge (nor am I not not justifying it), I’m just explaining.

If Assange wanted security, he should have followed Snowden and gone to ground in Moscow. Or Beijing. Oh, the irony of that. Assange has been called out repeatedly for not developing Wikileaks leakers in authoritarian countries. Russia now has a homegrown version of Wikileaks, no thanks to Assange and no kudos given it by Assange fanatics.

Seventh, this should further, if indirectly, refudiate (but won't) the idea that Trump is Putin's puppet. Because, if he were, he wouldn’t have let this indictment ever happen. Speaking of, for the #MAGA heads, Counterpunch (as many have done on Twitter) has a chronology of Trump weathervaning about Wikileaks.

Eighth, there are other things to chew on in that Counterpunch link, vis a vis points first and second above. Assange is still being targeted for being a journalist. At the same time, Assange's lawyer (as defense lawyers do when needed as part of strategy) misstates the charge.

Ninth, this hints back at reopening questions about just what Assange did or did not do in Sweden several years ago. It also reopens questions about his general recklessness and hubris both. Not that either are crimes, of course. But, they are “tells” of a sort.

Tenth, I'm surprised that Dear Leader didn't think of indicting on this charge, to try to avoid the "he's a journalist" issue, at least legally.

Eleventh, does gag-reflexive Assange flack Craig Murray still stand by his claim that the DNC emails were a leak, not a hack? If so, is he a Seth Rich conspiracy theory truther? Per The Nation, it kind of seems like it. And, now that Assange has been arrested, doesn't Sy Hersh have some obligation to provide more details about his talk with Ed Butowsky, as embarrassing as they may be to him?

As for that and whataboutism, there's Tweets like this:
Then there's the Seth Rich conspiracy theorists outing themselves:
Among ways I prove that wrong?

And, have already done so?

First, Google Trends.

(Breaking update, July 9: A new Yahoo News bombshell says Russian intelligence, specifically its foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, was behind the Seth Rich conspiracy theories.)

Second, the evidence related to the Russian 12.

Further, indirect proof the original emails were hacked not leaked? Even before Assange started releasing the first set, Joseph Mifsud told the Trump campaign about Russians having email "dirt" on Clinton.

Besides, timeline of person above has a fair amount of alt-ism and a fair amount of drinking the Tulsi Gabbard Kool-Aid. That's not to say she doesn't have some good thoughts, and on this issue, so far appears to be the only correctly thinking Democratic presidential candidate. It's just that she's wrong on a lot of other issues, including the Kool-Aid stuff where Olson thinks she's outside the Dem mainstream and ain't. And on Twitter, said person doesn't like me talking about this as a conspiracy theory, doesn't like me pointing out the Tulsi Kool-Aid and doesn't like me talking about Ray McGovern fellating Darrell Issa, or that he's a huge conspiracy theorist himself.

Said person chose not to directly answer my questions about whether they believed the same conspiracy theories as McGovern, so I dealt with them in one of the two normal Twitter ways.

Another person is now, though not going down the Seth Rich conspiracy theory rabbit hole about his death, still wanting to talk up Forensicator (or his ilk) with the idea that it wasn't a Russian hack, which I've already dealt with in detail, though said person said early on he didn't have high regard for Duncan Campbell. (I already issued the one counter that Campbell wasn't the only person to finger Forensicator fakery.) Stand by to see if this person starts throwing Jell-O at the wall of anything but Russia, when, per the link above about the 12, the evidence is solid.

(Update, April 8, 2021: Until reading Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide," I didn't know Campbell's background. Well, Duncan Campbell, as the man who first exposed the GCHQ by name and the "Five Eyes," knows his shit. As a man earlier targeted for prosecution under Britain's Official Secrets Act, he has no love lost for the national security state or its smears. So, his pronouncements re the Seth Rich case, and his skill in getting the information, should be taken with the utmost seriousness.)

Has it legally been cross-examined yet? No. And never will be. Concord may eventually cop a plea at the lowest cost it can and none of the Russians will ever be tried. See also Wikipedia.

Said person, whose Twitter handle is AmeriCancer and by said handle and comments, reminds me of Counterpunch at its worst, where it occasionally not only points out American faults but approaches the idea that America can almost never do right, was also removed from my Twitter conversational stream, for reasons as noted:
And that's that.

Conspiracy theory feints include:
  • Bringing up Tower 7 at the WTC, then withdrawing when I presented Popular Mechanics' follow-up to its original WTC piece, just about Tower 7, and saying maybe he'd read it if he thought it was worth time;
  • Saying Oswald claimed he was a patsy and never responding when I brought up Sirhan Sirhan lying every time he was up for parole;
  • Saying, can't people ask questions about Seth Rich:
  • Using "skepticism" in the way conspiracy theorist-lite people, at least, do.
Other feints include:
  • Fixating on Duncan Campbell vis-a-vis Forensicator after I pointed out twice that my blog post listed other people challenging Patrick Lawrence and Forensicator. Indeed, on this alone, he was acting like Adam Carter;
  • Claiming that, after I caught him talking about VIPS supported Forensicator and I pointed out that only half of it did, he didn't have room for that in his Tweet, then not responding when I noted he had 50 characters of Twitter space left;
  • Doing whataboutism on Wikipedia's Guccifer piece because I didn't have other links, when he damned well knows that Wikipedia piece itself has several dozen;
  • In a truly derp moment that shows he's a dumb ass and apparently thinks people listening to him are dumb asses instead, saying there's been no convictions on the IRA 12 Mueller indicted.
I wasted too much time on him as is.

Beyond that, the Assange genuflectors will accept at face value his answer as to why he didn't solicit leakers from authoritarian or totalitarian countries, above all, from Russia and China. (There ARE leakers there, at least in Russia, who have created their own system, with zero help from Assange.)

Unsurprisingly, Consortium News has jumped on the twosiderism and whataboutism, and extended it to doubling down on Patrick Lawrence's mendaciousness about Forensicator. Sadly, a person at CN like Daniel Lazare, whom I thought better, has joined the Armenian Chorus.

Twelvth: Related directly to the matter at hand, and non-journalistically? Don't forget Assange has committed password stupidity before.

The Masters: A tradition of bullshit unlike any other

I'm a fairly ardent fan of golf, and focus in during the four majors.

But, golf is a rich conservative man's sport. Mainly white, with occasional exceptions.

And, the Masters, until relatively recently, was the worst of the four.

Cue up histories of Lee Trevino. Or worse, Lee Elder. Or worse yet, Calvin Peete.

Or look at pictures from 1950s-60s Masters, just unearthed by Golf Digest. The fans (fuck that "patrons" shit) ... well, they might have liked golf, but ... to go one better on the GD cutline on this:

Masters galleries of the 1950s and 60s resembled people who, if not waiting for a Klan rally,
were waiting for the next meeting of the local Concerned Citizens Council.
So, no ... the British and US Opens didn't have galleries like that.

And, for the snootiness of the toonyment otherwise, as you look through those old pics?

Before the mid-60s, at earliest, the course itself looked frayed. Scuffed, Like a cheap small-town Southern motel with beyond-its-wearout-date carpet, to extend the theme.

No. 12 with no azaleas behind it looks almost bleah. But, even worse, look at the holes in the cheap apartment
carpet that's called the fairway.
That's not today's Masters. And, though the pix are black and white, I assume the water had no blue dye in it at that time.

I would divide the Masters into four not-quite-equal quarters.

The first is 1935-62. The first one-third of this, before World War II intervened, was just Cliff Roberts, Bobby Jones and a list of swells and golfers playing around. After the war, it picked up more, but as the picture of No. 12 shows ... it still wasn't The.Masters.™

1963 starts are second quarter. "Fat Jack," as he was known then, won for the first time. 1986, with his last win, is a good transition.

This split into roughly a two-thirds front and a one-third back. Tom Watson's first win in 1977 followed by Gary Player's last in 1978, is the break. Or, go back a couple of years earlier. 1975 is the first Masters I remember and still possibly the greatest ever — with Jack beating Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller by a stroke.

From there? We're going to 1997, right?

No. 1987-2005 is my next stretch. It's shorter than the first two, but it breaks just about in half. The first half was the rise of Greg Norman and the greater rise of Nick Faldo, with lesser lights and the last years of Tom Watson part of the scene. The second half covers Tiger Woods' four wins.

And now, we're in the post-Tiger era. The course was Tiger-proofed in multiple installments. And, apparently lefty-enhanced, a sentiment of Hank Haney and other coaches and players.

Mike Weir won his only major in 2003 here. Phil Mickelson took three Masters, starting in 2004. Bubba Watson has won two, and no other majors. That's six victories for lefties in 16 years.

Phil's win at Muirfield in the Open is the only other win by a lefty in a major in the last 20 years. Bob Charles of the 1963 Open is the only other lefty to win a major. But, Weir is golf detritus now, Phil is nearly 40 and Bubba is 40, and no top-notch lefties are on the golf horizon.

The reality of Augusta National is that a tournament with a history of changing invitational standards, resetting pairings between first and second rounds in the past, going with non-traditional send-out order for the final two rounds in the more distant past and similar capricious whims, arguably isn't a major. Or, at least, it certainly wasn't in the first segment of its history and not in the first half of the second segment.

Besides, as Josh Sens notes, a lot of modern traditions and legends are also overrated.

ESPN's Ian O'Connor has the temerity to suggest Augusta not invite amateur women but instead host a pro tournament. Sean Zak explains why that won't happen any time soon.

And, I went beyond Sean on Twitter:
Teh bottom line.

Per that piece from The Independent I reference, Cliff Roberts' toonyment is full of "faked, instant traditions Americans love."

Speaking of fake instant real traditions, probably the best way to divide The Masters is into pre- and post Roberts eras. Roberts, around whom a whole cultus has grown, stepped down as chairman in 1976. That's just about midway in the current timeline, and the tournament started modernizing, in fits and starts.

April 10, 2019

The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas:
A little-known Civil War mass lynching (updated)

The 2014, privately donated set of marker stones and memorial paver inserts, about 7 blocks west of the courthouse.

Very few non-Texans, and relatively few Texans, know about what is arguably the greatest mass lynching in American history, which happened right here in the Pointy Abandoned Object State.

Even more interesting for American history, though it indirectly involved black folk, white folk were the lynchees as well as the lynchers.

The original, faded state of Texas 1964
marker is a historical whitewash.
It’s the Great Hanging at Gainesville. And, it's been downplayed by the state of Texas and even more by the city of Gainesville.

Unionism in Texas ultimately led to 42 people being killed in Gainesville in October 1862 under a semblance of a cloak of law. The totality makes it the largest mass hanging in America, if not counting a one-day total of 38 Sioux also hanged in 1862.

The Red River area in general, and Cooke County in particular, was one of two hot spots of Unionism leading up to Texas’ secession in February 1861 and after. The lower, southern, part of the Hill Country was another.

In both cases, recent migrations of Germans was part of it. The lower Hill Country is of course known for places like New Braunfels and Boerne. Along the Red, while Muenster had yet to be founded, Germans had migrated to Gainesville already in its early years.

Also, in today’s Texoma land, the Butterfield stagecoach line came to North Texas in the late 1850s. Gainesville’s theater building is called the Butterfield Stage. The stage, crossing the Red River near Denison, connected the state with other parts of the country. Many passengers decided that they didn’t want to ride all the way to California, so they got off to settle in North Texas. Many of these people were from Northern or Southern border states, bringing attitudes on slavery that were intensifying like in Kansas. Some of these settled in and near Gainesville.

The final match for the Gainesville lynchings and other Civil War violence in Texas may have been literal, as the last domino.

The left of the two plaques above. The history of the hanging is backgrounded.
In the summer of 1860, starting in Dallas and spreading to other cities from Weatherford to Jefferson, fires broke out in many North Texas cities. Some people said that new railroad matches had unstable chemicals and were spontaneously combusting. But others, those prone to see conspiratorial actions from Northern sympathizers, claimed the fires were being deliberately set, either by them or by slaves encouraged by them.

Counties along the Red River voted against secession in Texas’ referendum in early 1861. 

With no quick end to the war, the South adopted a draft in 1862, shortly before the North did. It offered exemptions to slaveholders with 20 or more slaves, other special classes of people and men willing to pay $500 for a draft exemption.

A group of 30 Cooke County men signed a petition protesting the slaveholder exemption. Later, they and others began meeting in a peace society, which they called a Union League.

But that wasn’t the only new war hardship.

Feeding a larger army and building more weapons for it required additional taxes across the Confederacy. Those were no more popular than they are today.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Confederate government officially allowed impressment of supplies for the war effort.

That encouraged Unionists more resistant to the Confederacy and the Texas government to try to implement this. In Gainesville, they formed a “peace party.” Members helped hide each others’ supplies from impressment and tried to help young men avoid the draft.

At the end of September, 1862, a spy who had infiltrated some of the meetings claimed an uprising was about to happen. According to this person, the Unionists were going to seize arsenals in Gainesville and Sherman.

So the state declared martial law. James Bourland, who became the villain of the story, was named provost marshal. He asked Gov. Francis Lubbock for troops to help him suppress any possible disorder, but none were available.

So, Bourland created his own militia. Then, based on words of that informer, he created his own court. He started making arrests, charging people with treason.

Bourland appointed Col. William Young, like him a slaveholder, to take charge. Col. Young organized a special court and jury to hear the cases. One special attribute of the trials was that the jury could convict by a simple majority. The court, in case it’s not obvious, had no legal status.

The list of those lynched after various "trials" and "retrials."
After eight convictions, it decided to spit-polish things a little bit and require a two-thirds majority. One previous conviction was reversed, then the court sent those seven to be hanged, some within hours, on Oct. 12-13.

The jury then acquitted several, but faced mob pressure. The jury gave them 14 names of people on their list who had not yet been tried; those men were taken from the jail in Gainesville and lynched them immediately.

Young was killed on Oct. 16, pursuing a group who had killed a man on a creek. Supposedly somewhat of a moderator, Young’s death led to more howls for blood.

The jury reversed the acquittals of 19 people without any new testimony, let alone new charges, a further illegality. They were then hanged. Two others were shot fatally while allegedly trying to escape.

Some time later, five others were lynched in Decatur. And, German-Americans in the lower Hill Country, after being intercepted trying to flee to Mexico and losing a battle to Confederate troops, had several of their wounded shot after surrender.

Other lynching hangings happened in today’s Delta County, not a separate county at that time. The thickets it had between the North and South Sulphur rivers made it a hideout spot. It led to desertions from the Confederate Army, which led to ever more intrusive searches for deserters across North Texas with some animosities continuing after the end of the war, again, in today’s Delta County.

The Cooke County Courthouse
and Civil War memorial, where
the Great Hanging memorial
should also be placed.
Gainesville has shied away from openly acknowledging the Great Hanging. The state erected a pink granite marker in 1964. But the city did nothing at that time or for years after.

“Up until six or seven years ago, people in Gainesville didn’t want others to know about this,” according to Paris Junior College professor Kent Hanushek at a presentation in Sulphur Springs in 2018. “But since 2012, the leaders of Gainesville have tried to recognize their past.”

However, such recognition, on the official level, has been halting.

Gainesville’s then-mayor pushed to have a 150th-anniversary commemoration day killed. Gainesville, by this time, had built its Medal of Honor park, and started holding a weekend event for Medal of Honor winners. Rand McNally had named it that year as the most patriotic small town in America.

Larger, much more detailed and historically complete markers were erected in 2014. But, they were private efforts. And, while the new markers are part of what is purportedly a city park, they’re on totally undeveloped land. The land was dedicated to the city after it made no offer for placement itself. The “named” portion of that park, a block west, would be a better spot for them.

Texas Observer, in a long-form piece shortly after the 2014 private markers were erected, notes the "shabbiness" of the site, among other things.

An even better spot would be seven blocks further west, on the grounds of the Cooke County Courthouse, next to the Civil War Memorial, as shown at left.

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that Cooke County has as little eagerness to commemorate the Great Hanging as does the city of Gainesville, and for similar reasons.

And, a note to them, especially the city of Gainesville.

Real patriotism, per Rand McNally voting you the most patriotic small town in America, doesn't mean whitewashing less than ideal portions of your past. And, besides that, the Unionist side could be sold as idealism itself, if you want to do so, whether out of true patriotism or chasing the Benjamins.


That said, at least the site has a little more respect.

There's a brief annual commemoration day ceremony. And this year, on Oct. 12, it had some added events. (I already had plans to go to Fort Worth for the reopened Amon Carter. I could have waited two weeks, but ...)

The tour of graves, I can do on my own; I don't know how much of a lecture accompanied it.

And, per the photo above and the one at left?

A memorial bell was dedicated, and rung.

And, per the story, and just "behind" the bottom of the picture above? Two benches have been added.

I gave the bell a soft thump or four with my knuckles a Saturday later, when taking these photos.

April 09, 2019

Albert Pujols 2019 milestones season preview part 2

In part 1 of my career milestones 2019 season preview for Albert Pujols, I looked at career power stats. But Pujols, certainly the best roiding-free batter in all of baseball his first decade, has other statistical milestones in his crosshairs this year. And, with three years left on his contract, counting this one, he has possibility for significant movement up the ranks in several major career statistical areas in front of him beyond the power statistics.

Let's focus on 2019 and see what might be possible by the end of this year, given his current stats and reasonable projections. In this part, I'm going to look at power-related states.

On runs scored, Pujols, batting cleanup much of his career, is further down the list, in "just" 22nd place with 1,773. But, 57 runs scored this year will vault him all the way to 15th, passing, from bottom to top, Charlie GehringerPaul MolitorTed WilliamsCarl YastrzemskiEddie Collins and Frank Robinson.

On hits, Pujols is currently 23th with 3,090. (ESPN sez 22nd, but ESPN and baseball are sometimes only loosely connected.) Already this season, he passed the just-retired Ichiro Suzuki, who was seven ahead of him. Just 103 vaults him past Dave WinfieldAlex RodriguezTony GwynnRobin YountPaul WanerGeorge BrettAdrian Beltre and Cal Ripken into 15th.

Bonus: Albert gives his side of post-2012 free agency talks with the Cardinals. He's probably right that they didn't give that much imperative on keeping him. But, it was the right decision.

April 08, 2019

Alternative history: Andrew Johnson convicted in impeachment

Could Radical Republicans have convicted Andrew Johnson in the Senate, versus his actual acquittal at the denouement of his impeachment?

I say yes, and prevent a counterfactual history. Unlike most of my writings on this field, this particular counterfactual history requires multiple elements to be changed, not just one. But, the elements are all of a piece, and they'd all be by the same group — the Radical Republicans in Congress.

So, in outline form, here's what needed to be different.

First, a more comprehensive planning strategy should have been started earlier, even before it looked like impeachment had a shot.

Second, when that shot appeared possible, getting Senate Republicans to hold a new vote and elect somebody besides Ben Wade as president pro tem.

Third, grab the bull by the horns. In light of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and Johnson's non-actions, rather than try him over the Tenure of Office Act, more bluntly try him over his failure to uphold his oath of office.

Fourth, if this weren't enough to have changed the minds of any of the "sinful seven" (actually 10 Republican senators in all) who early on decided to acquit, given the actual play-out, lean harder on Sen. Edmund Ross, who reportedly told Gov. Crawford that he would resign if the governor wanted him to vote to convict. (How true the veracity of that tale is, I'm not sure.)

Fesseden or Grimes surely could have been swayed. And non-Radicals who stayed stubborn would have been put on notice about possible state legislature opposition when their terms ended.

Spoons/Beast Ben Butler argued that patronage had been spread for Johnson's acquittal. Some of the Sinful Seven claimed that Butler's presentation of the charges as House manager was one-sided.

I disagree. It was somewhat inept. But, it was otherwise prosecutorial. That's what House impeachment managers are supposed to be. They're not judges in an impeachment; the Supreme Court serves as that. They're prosecutors.

So, it seems clear that Trumbull, among others, was hell-bent on acquittal.

Had Johnson been convicted, we have two alt-history paths. One is where Wade accepts he's unpopular and the Senate holds a new election for a president pro tem after he steps aside. A moderate but not conservative consensus candidate, like Wade's fellow Ohioan John Sherman or , is elected to replace him.

The other is that Wade is stubborn and despite this handicap, Johnson is still convicted.

A Sherman presidency would have been relatively smooth. All of Johnson's Cabinet likely would have remained.

For Wade, on the other hand, most of the Cabinet outside of Stanton might have quit. Seward might have stayed on for Alaska negotiations, depending on the exact date of Johnson's conviction, then left after that.