Moscow Mitch’s Secret Trial

I’ve been refraining from directly writing about politics lately.   It is sickening to watch the zero-sum fascistic blood sport it has become.   The arguments are beginning in the Senate today about whether opening arguments must be conducted until after midnight on back to back days and whether any evidence at all will be allowed at the trial.   I start wondering, again, what country I am living in.   Koch country, I suppose, this is the autocracy these born-wealthy, earth-destroying autocrats have long dreamed of and worked hard for.

I heard a sound bite from the fair and impartial head of the 51-49 Suck It Senate, Mitch McConnell, who is busy coordinating with the defendant and his lawyers, organizing a show trial designed to quickly acquit America’s Greatest Fraudster. The McConnell quote was him telling supporters about the greatest moment of his political life. Mitch’s proud evocation of his greatest dramatic moment of extra-constitutional triumph got to me.

The peak experience, McConnell said, was when he looked President Obama in the face, during an exchange about the president’s duty to appoint a replacement for a Supreme Court justice who died during the president’s tenure, and without using the n-word or anything in any way impolite, said (I’m paraphrasing) “fuck you, nigger.”  No nomination, no hearing, no nothing, fuck you, I wish you were never born in Kenya, you Muslim bastard.

I’m not saying Mitch is a racist, or a “Birther”.  I have no idea.  Would he have said the same to Bill Clinton?  Probably (that libertine draft-dodging fucker got BLOWJOBS!), though the time would not have been right yet for such a brazen and extra-legal power play — it took 8 years of Cheney, and then 8 of Obama, before angry partisan division would get that openly ripe.  So ripe that a trial without witnesses and evidence, conducted partly late at night on consecutive days so it can be wrapped up as quickly as possible, sounds reasonable to about 40% of our countrymen.

Mitch’s behavior is just the traditional southern way, I suppose, the smug superiority of wealthy white people (traditionally men) long used to having their way.   Powerful white men presided over quick trials whose fore-ordained outcomes were always black and white, men who identified with these all-powerful men sat on the juries, beholden to their bosses.   Black defendant alleged to have attacked a white?   Guilty.   White defendant being harassed and dragged into court on flimsy evidence for supposedly just basically touching a Negro?   Come on, boys, there’s no need for witnesses or supposed evidence here, nor any jury deliberations neither.  Let’s get this done toot sweet and go have lunch, what you boys say?

So it is with the impeachment trial.  The president did exactly what he is accused of — mounted an organized campaign to pressure the new president of an ally dependent on American aid during an ongoing war, to make the Ukrainian president announce that Trump’s possible opponent in the next presidential election was the subject of a Ukrainian corruption probe.   The perfect phone call to the Ukrainian president on July 25 was merely one chapter in this long and ongoing campaign that involved several of the president’s closest circle and went on for at least three months, until the confirmed report of the Whistleblower complaint became public.   The record of the July 25 call was immediately locked in a secret server by alarmed aides and attorneys, because that’s what democratic governments always do with perfect calls.  

Trump abused his power for personal gain and obstructed the investigation by Congress, as he had successfully obstructed the Mueller investigation.  Mueller’s investigation led to a few perjury convictions for close associates of Trump and a conclusion of no triable criminal conspiracy, because Mueller found “insufficient evidence” to show every element of such a conspiracy.   He also wrote a second volume detailing the president’s successful obstruction and explicitly did not exonerate him of the serious crime of obstruction of justice, a pattern of corrupt behavior intended to conceal guilt and destroy evidence of the underlying criminal enterprise.

Enter Trump’s new attorney general, conservative extremist Bill Barr, longtime defender of the president’s absolute authority (almost Pope-like in his infallibility, according to the Bagpiper) who gave him the legal means to delay testimony and documents in any investigation from ever being allowed until, at minimum, a year or so from now when the courts would ultimately rule on the unprecedented (and ridiculous) claim of absolute immunity under the most audaciously dodgy, extreme version of Executive Privilege.  A claim Barr explicitly, publicly and notoriously urged Trump to make in his letter of May, 8, 2019.

Now, one of the president’s lawyers, Patrick Philbin, is using the phrase “ram this through” over and over to characterize the Democratic request for a vote on an amendment to McConnell’s special impeachment rules to allow for the introduction of documentary evidence and witnesses.   Any lawyer asking for this on the first day of a trial, Philbin insists, would have his case thrown out of court and probably be sanctioned by the judge.  Imagine asking for evidence at a trial?!!   What kind of pettifogging scumbag would ask a judge for that?   To allow this kind of partisan bullshit to suddenly change the rules of trials would forever destroy the integrity of our democratic system.

Yes, indeed.  If the president had something to hide WOULDN’T HE BE HIDING IT?  

The People rest.


Colluding to pretend all is well

We always have the option to pretend that the things that hurt us are not that bad. You can have a heavy history of sour battles with someone, and pretend it all weighs nothing.   The fear is that allowing the feelings that cause the conflict into view and trying to work things out will inevitably lead to more conflict, a fight to the death over who is the bigger asshole — who is to blame for everything.  

To accommodate yourself to this internal dilemma you need to stop caring as much about the person, since if you cared too much it would be painful to sit with somebody who may be compelled, when the moment is right, to stick a finger into your deepest wound.    This “compromise” agreement not to talk about the 600 pound gorilla in the room is a powder keg situation, both parties sitting on the explosive keg smoking cigarettes and acting as if there is no possible harm to any of it.

It is strenuous, wearying work, I find, to pretend that a relationship with someone who can’t help being insensitive, suspicious, antagonistic, untruthful (or worse) is actually fine.    In psychologist Jeanne Safer’s book about sibling conflict, Cain’s Legacy, the author talks about what she calls “sibspeak”, the intimate language siblings speak among themselves, full of code words and often silent agreements not to acknowledge the painful sources of fundamental conflicts.  

Avoidance is common in the secret language many siblings speak to each other, since there are often primal conflicts going back to earliest memories, things that trigger real hurt, fear and anger.  Avoidance produces only caution, I find.   I read the book, which describes numerous troubled sibling relationships,  with interest.   Reading her conclusions, the general principles she sets out,  a series of steps to take for better communication with a sibling, this one jumped out at me.


This collusion to keep the dark, fearful, enraging things hidden is a trap.   It requires ignoring strong feelings that are telling you important things. Things like: when somebody tells you angrily that they want to kill you, believe the strength of their feelings.  Things like: after somebody hurts you, an apology — an expression of empathy, remorse and vow to do better–  is necessary before reconciliation and forgiveness can happen.    Things like: if even a small breach of this “agreement” not to talk about  painful things leads to accusations and rage, there is a major problem.

Of course, you can always nonchalantly cross your legs again, after fishing out your lighter, and putting the flame to a new cigarette, being as careful as one can be sitting on a keg full of explosive powder talking about everything else in the world.

anodyne, credulous


In the bathroom of an apartment where we gathered yesterday to comfort an old friend whose mother just died, these napkins (above) were available for drying the hands after washing up in the bathroom.  Beautiful.  I put one in my pocket.

Picking up a random scrawling from the pile on my desk, I took a snapshot to test it as a background.  Two good words, written in fake gold. 

Anodyne: calculated to cause no distress, harmless.   

Credulous: willing to believe whatever one is told, gullible.  

If you are willing to believe anodyne explanations for complicated, sometimes dark things, with no need for evidence of any kind to weigh while making a decision about what to believe … I don’t even know how to end this sentence.  If you’re willing to believe any harmless [1] explanation that spares you pain or distress, so be it, I suppose.   The faith-based bypass of all reason is not for me, though.



[1] example of a comforting, anodyne explanation that is not harmless:  catastrophic climate change is a wholly natural phenomenon, unrelated to the constant burning of tons of carbon-rich fossil fuels and other man-made pollution.  The climate simply changes, according to the Creator’s perfect plan, as we wait for the return of Jesus; there is no cause for alarm, partisan CLIMATE ALARMISTS!