Evil needs darkness to thrive

Evil plans generally require a careful hiding of true motives, calculated lying about the reasons something is done, aggressive justification at every step.  These things become much easier to do when inconvenient information, so-called “facts”, are simply hidden.   Evil hates any sort of transparency, particularly regarding compromising information of any kind, for reasons that are easy to understand.   

Trying “leakers” (sometimes called “whistle-blowers”) under a draconian 1917 Espionage law (made to squash all dissent and anti-war sentiment as the US entered The World War) that does not allow the intent of the leaker to be part of their defense, is a dramatic example of a law designed to ensure a lack of transparency for the public, on pain of death.   Literally.

Mary Trump’s book about her divisive uncle Donald apparently begins with an epigraph from Victor Hugo.   The truth of it is worth pondering, in civic life and personal life, both:

“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.”

As Amy Goodman added, in her long talk with Mary Trump today,  “the epigraph is clearly a reference to what Fred Trump, your grandfather, you say, did to Donald Trump”

I think of terrible secrets in my own small family and the destructive effect they had on many lives.   I think of the gnawing regrets my father expressed the last night of his life, wishing he’d had the courage to face some of them, the ability to see beyond his understandable shame.   I am sometimes forced to live in the menacing shadows of this family darkness, and it is not a comfortable place to be, I can tell you from my own soul.  In that darkness is the root of all depression, desperation and hopelessness.

Florida “Republican” State– fine for mail-in voting…

While the president’s army of lawyers sues the state of Nevada over its plan to have universal mail-in voting, Mr. Trump praises “absentee voting” (or “Vote by Mail,” if you prefer) for the elderly white Floridians who put him over the top in that key Electoral College state.  He gave this rationale:

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True, Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA”

Florida’s last gubernatorial contest resulted in a Trumpian landslide for the current Republican governor, who won by over 32,000 votes in an election in which more than 8,000,000 votes were cast.  DeSantis’s 0.4% victory was not as impressive as Mr. Trump’s 1.2% margin of victory in Florida, (or as surgically slim as Trump’s Electoral College margin of 78,000 votes in three key states– out of over 120,000,000 votes cast nationwide) but still– nothing to sneeze at.

If you do sneeze at it, do it into your elbow, wearing a mask, please.

And if you’re looking for reasons for optimism, read or listen to this encouraging Op-ed from a few weeks back

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John Birch Society– still going strong after 62 years!

This rousing call for more freedom, rights and liberties is from the homepage of the John Birch Society website:

Freedom is the Cure

The number of rights, liberties, and freedoms lost during this Wuhan virus COVID-19 lockdown is tremendous! Around the globe, countries have shown that shutdowns are not necessary. We’d invite you to join others in your area working to restore our freedom. We’ve created some great resources for you to educate Americans and stand for freedom. May we count on your help?

We, as Americans, are responsible for our own healthcare. We do not consent to these tyrannical orders of shutting down places of worship and not being able to peaceably assemble. We thoroughly proclaim that Freedom IS The Cure! The John Birch Society provides a national program designed to counter the Deep State/Big Government agenda and to restore our rights.

Sound familiar, boys and girls?   

The “Wuhan virus COVID-19 lockdown” is tyranny, baby!  Shutdowns are not necessary, as worldwide experience teaches.   We are responsible for our own healthcare and don’t consent to not being allowed to worship Jesus, or whatever else we choose, in large indoor gatherings.   Freedom to contract the disease IS THE CURE!   

Join us, your fellow wild, alternate reality embracing extremists!   Remember, all government is Communism (except for the police).

Two small puzzlers

How has the court not thrown out Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s strategically political lawsuit trying to stop Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from mandating mask wearing in public during the pandemic? 

Kemp brought the emergency lawsuit to enforce his arguably rational executive order, which reads in part:

“Any state, county, or municipal law, order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires persons to wear face coverings, masks, or shields, or any other Personal Protective Equipment while in places of public accommodation or public property are suspended to the extent that they are more restrictive than this Executive Order.”

How is it that the court didn’t throw out this nakedly political lawsuit, selectively brought against a black, female Democratic mayor, when Kemp did not sue the mayors of Georgia cities “such as Savannah, Athens, East Point, College Park, and Brookhaven” who also issued mask mandates?

Oh, I see.   Hadn’t heard that one.

And this laundry list of  Orwellian horse shit about how Mr. T (who is pursuing a case in the Supreme Court to abolish the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic) is reversing Obama’s vicious health reform law to benefit all American suckers (could she be describing the campaign promise he made in 2016 to give all Americans cheaper, better health care?):

And this beauty for seniors, the vulnerable old bastards (I’m 64, yo) who Mr. Trump is doing everything possible to prevent from voting by mail during a pandemic that disproportionately kills us (and this demographic overwhelming supported Mr. T in 2016– SAD!) :

It’s all being done in good clean fun, folks!   

Seriously, can’t y’all take a joke?   ROTFLMAO!

 

Bonus — Billionaires for Trump:

#10 Kelcy & Amy Warren

Net worth: $2.5 billion
Source of wealth: Pipelines
Contributions: $721,200
Gave to 2016 Trump campaign? Yes, $100,000

Kelcy Warren cofounded pipeline company Energy Transfer with Ray C. Davis (now also a billionaire) in 1995. Warren’s fortune stems from publicly traded company Energy Transfer LP, of which he is CEO and chairman. In 2017, following protests, Energy Transfer finished building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline after an executive order from President Trump. Energy Transfer says the 1,172-mile pipeline can transport almost 500,000 barrels of oil daily.

source

American Carnage

Mr. Trump is doing his best at the moment to realize the American Carnage he angrily conjured in his first State of the Union — a violently divided, crime-infested, cynical, angry, corrupt, lawless, vicious, violent, terrifyingly disordered United States of America.  A vision of national horror that, according to Mr. Trump, also, by the way, makes the US, humiliatingly, the world’s laughing stock.  Now the pandemic seems to be giving him the once-in-a-lifetime chance to make this vision a reality to an extent even he couldn’t have imagined.  He needs things to be as bad as possible if he has any hope of remaining in office.

If you have a highly infectious deadly disease raging out of control, continually blame another country (and have your surrogates constantly attacking China), blame partisan traitors in your own country for spreading it (instead of mobilizing the country to defend itself in the same ways other countries have controlled the spread), encourage your supporters to spread it as part of resistance to “tyranny”, demand policies, like immediate school re-openings, that will ensure it continues to rage out of control— well, you are well on your way to the mass chaos, terror, death and desperation you need to make your vision of American carnage a reality.   Why would anyone do this?   I leave that conclusion to you.

Years ago, after a lot of reading about the Nazis, I enrolled for what turned out to be one semester in a PhD program in Modern European History (it wasn’t for me).   At one point I read a great book on propaganda/political advertising by an influential sociologist of the 1940s (I think it was Harold Lasswell) that recommended Mr. Hitler’s chapter in Mein Kampf about propaganda.  The author wrote that Hitler’s views on effective propaganda were lucid and chilling.  They were.

I always remember my effort to find those cogent pages in Mr. Hitler’s ranting manifesto as slogging through a bad translation of badly written page-long paragraphs transcribed directly from the snarling of a rabid animal, sincerely, excitedly attempting to explain exactly why it must bite you in the face, immediately.   

To my astonishment, when I found the pages analyzing effective propaganda, I saw that Lasswell was absolutely correct about their lucidity.   Just as we get to those pages on propaganda, Mr. Hitler wipes the rabies foam off his lips and launches into maybe a dozen crystal clear pages about what makes effective  propaganda — a visceral appeal to the lowest emotions, using any conceivable lie or distortion that will inspire terror, hatred and rage.   Gripping fear, Mr. Hitler stresses, is the only thing that can move masses of people to violent action.

At the end of Mr. H’s analysis, which begins with his expression of admiration for the audacious and effective lies propagated [1] by France, Britain and the US in what was then called The World War, incendiary lies that made soldiers hate the enemy, and contrasting it to the pathetically ineffective German appeals to national pride and cultural superiority, the foam immediately returns to Herr Hitler’s lips and the book once again becomes the unreadable muttering of a rabid dog.  (A rabid dog, we note, who less than twenty years later, shot his own beloved dog, poisoned his new wife and then put himself down, in a bunker under Berlin).

How’s this for American Carnage:

Every poll shows that your reelection campaign (launched the day of your inauguration in January 2017) is in bad shape, your hope of winning the Electoral College swing states that put you over the top last time (by a surgical 78,000 votes) are even dimmer than in 2016.    You demote your campaign manager– as you did last time when firing Paul Manafort and having Roger Stone step away.  You state in a televised interview that if crazy Democrats had their way and every American vote was counted no Republican would ever be elected to public office again.   Suppressing voter turn out would seem to be a key to another Electoral College win, something a divided Supreme Court already helped out with by gutting enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.    Making claims of massive voter fraud that benefits Democrats is always good, even if the claim has been conclusively debunked as false many times. 

Check this out (from Business Insider at link above):

And in the context of the coronavirus crisis, expanding early voting and vote-by-mail would greatly benefit older voters over the age of 65, who the CDC say are most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, lean more Republican than younger generations, and backed Trump 53% to 45% the 2016 election. 

NO MATTER!   You continually attack mail-in voting during a dangerous pandemic (while defending absentee voting– go figure) as an invitation to massive fraud and appoint a large campaign donor to, literally, slow down mail delivery.   You have a 5-4 Supreme Court that already intervened to crush a Democratic governor’s plan to postpone a state primary, and overturned two federal courts that ruled a six day extension for mail-in voting was reasonable during a pandemic, particularly since many voters hadn’t received mail-in ballots by election day. 

Let’s pause here for just a moment for this witty tweet from Representative Eric Swalwell:

OK, let’s compromise. No mail-in ballots. Let’s go with absentee voting instead. 

At the same time, your party blocks continued financial relief to the 20,000,000 plus Americans unemployed because of the wildly spreading pandemic.  Now millions of Americans have another huge, very tangible, reason to be terrified.  Without government assistance during this once-in-a-century catastrophe, millions of Americans face the terrifying prospect of eviction, foreclosure, homelessness, hunger, increased likelihood of death from Covid-19. 

Mass evictions would make voting impossible for many of the new homeless — win-win for Mr. Trump.   Luckily for him there are no laws protecting Americans from immediate homelessness for failure to pay money owed to a bank or landlord, in a country where most people don’t have $400 in the bank for an emergency and no law protecting a homeless person’s right to vote.  What effect would a few million newly homeless families have on American life?   A very scary thought, for them and for everybody else.

Mr. Trump has his American Carnage at last.   Babies plucked from their crying mother’s arms?   We’ve all shed our angry tears about that, courts have ruled that the president and his men can’t do it, countless kids are still in cages.  A rouge’s gallery of America’s most corrupt, unrepentant felons, sprung from prison by Mr. Trump?   What can we do?  He has the absolute constitutional power to pardon any federal felon he chooses.  Constant lying that serves only to confuse, divide and infuriate?   The absolute right of any public official who has no scruples about doing so (note that almost none of them will take an oath not to lie since Bill Clinton was forced to– with disastrous results for him).

See the living landscape of American Carnage coming into focus? September, October, millions of newly homeless Americans, governors and mayors unable to feed everyone, hospitals overrun, pandemic killing tens of thousands a week, desperate people stealing food, looting, sullen police departments standing down necessitating the mobilization of militarized federal shock troops from Homeland Security, the Bureau of Prisons, ICE, moving into disloyal “Democrat” cities, restoring order.   A terrifying vision of hell.   On election day, long lines at the few open polling places in every urban area where anti-Trump voters are concentrated, surrounded by highly militarized anti-insurgency units who wear no insignia, are accountable only to William Barr.   A little chemical irritant dispersed here and there, like spraying some weeds, as you do, for the TV cameras and the traumatized folks at home.

What is the only way to fight this fearsome fear machine?  Fearlessness and mobilized public demonstrations of courage, conviction and caring.  Like the Wall of Moms in Portland.   Standing arm in arm, peacefully, as they are sprayed in the face with the equivalent of mace, for the “crime” of opposing illegal federal violence against people exercising their First Amendment rights.   Citizens willing to be sprayed in the face like cockroaches, by secret police, to defend our beloved community.

In the inspiring words of historian Howard Zinn [2]: 

“I thought that to omit these acts of resistance, to omit these victories, however limited, by the people of the United States, was to create the idea that power rests only with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth.  I wanted to point out that people who seem to have no power — working people, people of color, women– once they organize and protest and create national movements, they have a power that no government can suppress.”

He concludes:

“I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in the solid centuries of warfare.”

 

 

[1]  Propaganda, as I recall, was a word coined by the Roman Catholic church to describe its efforts to propagate the One True Faith. Let’s see who that innovative Pope was.

Here ya go, first hit on google:

The term “propaganda” apparently first came into common use in Europe as a result of the missionary activities of the Catholic church. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV created in Rome the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

 

[2]  the following is worth seeing in its entirety.   The full post is  here.

I will end with Howard Zinn’s inspiring message, delivered as an older man, talking about why he studied and taught history, why he wrote A People’s History of the United States:

“I wanted, in writing this book, to awaken a consciousness in my readers, of class conflict, of racial injustice, of sexual inequality and of national arrogance, and I also wanted to bring into light the hidden resistance of the People against the power of the establishment.   

I thought that to omit these acts of resistance, to omit these victories, however limited, by the people of the United States, was to create the idea that power rests only with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth.  I wanted to point out that people who seem to have no power — working people, people of color, women– once they organize and protest and create national movements, they have a power that no government can suppress.

“I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements, but to think that history writing must simply recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat.  And if history is to be creative, if it’s to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I think, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win.

“I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in the solid centuries of warfare.”

American right-wing Kampfbund

A characteristic of all authoritarian movements is framing life in terms of an existential struggle (kampf in German).  Life is seen as an eternal violent contest between good and evil, pure and simple; the good side, absent violent struggle, is always the victim of the implacable evil side.   You band together with other good people in a kampfbund, an organization to courageously struggle together against evil outsiders and, ultimately, destroy them.

The essence of this worldview, which requires militant readiness to fight an evil and determined Other, is that we are under constant threat of subjugation and death from dangerous forces and must continually strike the enemy in the heart, until they are destroyed.  Authoritarian leaders, and their ultra-conservative ilk, always inflame terror and rage by insisting that our cherished way of life is under attack, that we (even the most powerful among us) are the victims of a vicious and powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to enslave us in their fiendish new order.   The right-wing’s view of life as an eternal struggle keeps them mobilized to fight, and able to justify any tactic to defeat an infernal enemy.

This is how conservative Culture Warriors like the pugnacious Bill Barr have always seen the world.  As Barry Goldwater famously put it (before losing all but five former Confederate states  and his home state of Arizona in the 1964 presidential election [1]) “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”[126]  Charles Koch, who inherited a fortune from his father Fred (after fighting his brothers in court for years over the lion’s share of it) is another one of these, he put millions of tax-deductible dollars where his mouth was.   Through the increasingly effective strategic efforts of Koch and his fellow-victim allies (Bannon-patron Robert Mercer, Betsey DeVos family — and her mercenary brother, Erik Prince,  several other billionaire victims) the vision of Fred Koch, co-founder of the once fringe anti-communist, anti-immigration, anti-integration, anti-government, anti-union, anti-majoritarian John Birch Society, is now the unquestioned, united vision of the mainstream Republican party of Donald J. Trump. 

It is a war waged by the self-perceived victims of a left-wing fever dream of equal justice under the law, voting rights for all, affordable health care for everyone, a fair tax system, government maintenance of infrastructure, protection for children and the aged, regulation of harmful pollution, federal intervention in disasters of all kinds, including the (debatable) climate catastrophe (that is well under way) and other equally outlandish liberal/socialist/communist notions of that sort. 

It was the intolerable threat of  “mongrelization” (a racist’s most visceral fear) that the activist Supreme Court ushered in with its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education (of Topeka, where the Kochs are from) decision, ruling segregation in public schools unconstitutional, that mobilized powerful, threatened white men to create institutions and orders to fight back. Among other efforts,  Fred Koch and the wildly conspiratorial co-founders of the John Birch Society (1958) got busy defending The Lost Cause — the romantic vision of America as it used to be when powerful white men of vision, daring and great wealth could do as they saw fit without an activist government exercising undue coercion.   With the unalienable right to choose whether their children had to sit in school next to their genetic inferiors.

Racism, of one kind or another, is an essential building block of a fascistic state.  It is hard to rule a one-party state embracing, or even tolerating, difference in your society.   Racism might as well be an explicit part of the party platform.   If done openly, you know, and continually justified in the mass media, where opponents of racism are always cast as insane, violent terrorists, how can anyone complain?

Hitler’s original title for Mein Kampf was a bit more ranty: Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit, [Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.] [7]   Dummheit, indeed.

As for the inventive, if unprincipled, illegal, sometimes obscene, tactics that authoritarian partisans engaged in a struggle to the death (for a one-party state) are prepared to use in their life and death kampf, Gary Kasparov nailed the essence of it the other day  (pardon me for the 15 seconds of infernal youTube monetization you’ll be forced to mute before the clip — Kasparov’s response is cued up and worth hearing — ah, here it is:)

“You know, what scares me the most isn’t that I know what people like Trump and his cronies can do, it’s that authoritarians always come up with things that we cannot imagine, cannot even predict.  And it’s a special talent of people who think only about themselves, only about their money, their power.  And you very often hear ‘oh, doesn’t he know how bad that looks?’ or ‘surely he could never do that’– they don’t care

They will do anything because they have too much to lose.  The way authoritarians think is that anything they do to stay in power is fine as long as it works.  Because with power they can avoid consequences, they can avoid prosecution, they can cover their tracks and they pardon their friends and allies.   So breaking traditions, breaking the rules, even breaking the law, they think it won’t matter if they win.  So they’re capable of absolutely anything.”

Trump’s kamfbund is energetically laying the groundwork now for a way to win, or even if realistically claiming a win is impossible, to contest the election as “rigged,” unfair, as everything always is to Mr. Trump and his fellow fighters.   Deliberately slowing down the mail in advance of the election, with a major Trump campaign donor ($360,000 to Trump 2020 in recent months), Louis DeJoy, as the experience-free new postmaster general; allowing a pandemic to rage unchecked, devastating the nation, creating death, mass homelessness, hunger, chaos, eventual crimes of desperation and a need to bring federal riot squads into majority Democratic cities in crucial swing states to “monitor” elections;  anything you can imagine, and many things you cannot imagine, are in the playbook of those who see “winning” as the only virtue in an eternal war of each against all — in which many are marshaled to violently fight the rest of us in the name of the privileged “each” who benefit most from the war. 

John Lewis spoke of the “beloved community,” neighbors, friends and strangers who share our care for each other, and cherish the value of social justice, the kind of concern that causes some to lay their lives on the line for the sake of their beloved community.    The authoritarian sees no beloved community, no shared social obligations, no value great enough to die for  — though killing is never a problem.   The authoritarian sees each against all, an obligation of citizens only to loyally obey power, an inviolable duty, among the followers, to die en masse, if necessary, to preserve the State and the privileges it is dedicated to protecting.

In the street battle between true believers ready to kill on command and those ready to die for their beloved community, the killers always have the advantage.   In the larger battle, the battle for the soul of mankind, we like to believe the values of the beloved community triumph.   

Be vigilant, this perilous moment is too important to lose focus in.

 

UPDATE:  right after I posted this yesterday I heard an excellent, detailed historically contextualized discussion of this very subject, jumping off from Goldwater’s famous quote about extremism being no vice among the righteous and focusing on the extreme rightwing mobilization following the Brown v. Board of Education decision.   I  recommend the fascinating conversation between national treasure Bill Moyers (now 86) and historian Heather Cox Richardson on Bill’s recent podcast to anyone interested in this subject.  They discuss her latest book “How The South Won the Civil War.”   34 minutes very well-spent, or even less if you’re in a hurry and read the transcript.

 

 

[1]   Wikipedia:

On Election Day, Goldwater lost the election to Johnson by what was then the largest margin in history.[2] Goldwater accumulated 52 electoral votes to Johnson’s 486 and 39% of the popular vote (27,178,188) to Johnson’s 61% (43,129,566).[141] Goldwater carried six states: LouisianaAlabamaMississippiGeorgiaSouth Carolina and his home state of Arizona.[141] Goldwater’s strong showing in the south is largely due to his support of the white southern view on civil rights: that states should be able to control their own laws without federal intervention.[142]

I May Need Some Reader Help with this one

I rarely get comments here on this seldom read blahg, so when I do I give the comment careful attention.   Yesterday I got this one, from an American patriot and Trump supporter with the handle Muckeyduck (commenting on my totally unfair piece about five inspectors general that Mr. Trump allegedly fired during the so-called pandemic YOU CAN READ MY MINDLESS POST THAT INSPIRED HIS COMMENT HERE):

What a deep state motivated crock of shit. Trump administration has zero scandals thus far. You TDS enraged globalist hacks point to cronies, and lies, and unscrupulous activity but you never say who those cronies are, or identify those lies, or activities.

You are communicating with others who cannot think for themselves, the sheep. People who are likewise infected with TDS, like you. You are a stooge for the globalist, and deep state permanent political class that is intent on ending our freedoms in America.

People are being redpilled in massive numbers, because they see through you fackery. American is waking up. #walkaway #Blexit #TRUMP2020

My question is about Muckeyduck’s last paragraph.   (TDS, by the way, is Trump Derangement Syndrome, the rabid insanity produced by a refusal to grant the greatness of our greatest ever president)

As far as I could learn online, in a few seconds, I took red-pilled, a term from The Matrix, as a term disparaging those who drink the Liberal Fake Media Kool-aid and believe the widespread lies being told about our greatest citizens.    This misunderstanding of redpilled left me unable to parse Muckeyduck’s finale.

My mistaken understanding of “redpilled” was based on a hasty reading of this online definition:

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Usually means that a Liberal has become more right winged.

Person 1: “Omg, Jennifer told me that she no longer feels she is Gender Queer!”
Person 2: “Perhaps she is now Red Pilled.”

I think I may have just answered my own question with a few additional seconds of internet research.  My eyes have been opened.   The urban dictionary (in another definition) defines red pill like this:

“This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – Morpheus, The Matrix

‘Red pill’ has become a popular phrase among cyberculture and signifies a free-thinking attitude, and a waking up from a “normal” life of sloth and ignorance. Red pills prefer the truth, no matter how gritty and painful it may be.

Now I understand my red pill friend Muckeyduck’s final comment and what he was trying to tell me.   People are waking up en masse from a narcotized life of sloth and ignorance and finally thinking for themselves, grasping the gritty truth, unlike mindless globalist bots like me. 

“Globalist” by the way, in the red-pilled sense, doesn’t refer to American corporations that produce products cheaply in places like China, and base their operations outside of the US,  in order to minimize taxes owed and maximize profits.  Globalist is not to be mistaken for a reference to good Americans like Ivanka Trump and her Chinese trademarks, making her fine fashion products at a shrewd discount in Chinese factories.   

“Globalist,” as used by those who believe the Trump administration has been scandal-free thus far, is a completely objective term for Jews (like me), the internationally omnipresent people whose unscrupulous leaders secretly meet in the ancient Prague Cemetery periodically, at midnight (according to certain secret, unreliable “eyewitness” accounts you can read in many of the world’s languages), and plot the subjugation of the human race.  It is this “globalist” conspiracy which is to blame for the powerful cabal of “Democrats” in the US, a party dominated by pedophile cannibals, their hideous secret revealed online to initiates by the mysterious Q-Anon.   

For interested readers, the entire “globalist” plot is painstakingly laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (original Russian title: Протоколы сионских мудрецов), for anybody with the eyes, and the willingness to swallow a particular kind of red pill, to see.  

For my globalist money, I’d recommend, instead, the madly delicious account of the creation of this infamous and widely influential  antisemitic forgery The Prague Cemetery,  by Umberto Eco. [1]

Also Pogrom: Kishniev and the Tilt of History, a brilliantly condensed, beautifully written short history by Steven J. Zipperstein, which also describes the creation of this influential Bible of conspiracy theory.  

And now, my dear sheep, let me count you and back to sleep with us all.

 

[1]  Be forewarned, though.   The review I linked to above does not find Eco’s book as deliciously mad an account of the infamous forgery as I did.   After praising the scope of the book’s ambition, the reviewer comes to the point (talk about red pills…):

In practice, though, The Prague Cemetery is a tiring plod. Eco is much indebted to Jorge Luis Borges, and this is the sort of exercise – a fictional version of a true story of a fake which had a powerful effect on the real world – that the Argentine writer would have turned into a dizzying, flawlessly executed five-page short story. But over Eco’s flaccid 400-plus pages, it is frustrating and unsatisfactory. All the vices of the historical novel are there: the wodges of researched material; the easy, silly ironies (that Austrian Jew turns out to be a certain “Dr Froide”). The characters are little more than vessels for the author’s erudition. What John Updike called Eco’s “orgy of citation and paraphrase” often becomes unbearable. His desire to cover pages with occult lore is unabated (“Secretary of the Savonarola Lodge in Florence, Venerable of the Giordano Bruno Lodge of Palmi, Sovereign Grand Inspector-General, thirty-third degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite …”, and so on and on). For all the homage paid to Dumas, the plot is stodgy and repetitive. It is hard, at times, to remember which blandly threatening puppetmaster or sinister Jesuit we are dealing with.

And so on.

More Reasons to Be Positive as the Election Approaches

In just the last few days there have been a string of small news items that directly contradict the narrative that our country has already descended into totalitarianism. It’s worth a moment to consider a few of Mr. Trump’s recent legal setbacks. Mr. Trump clearly would like to be a dictator, and his third Attorney General seemingly has no problem with that desire, but there are some safeguards here in the US that are still intact. The rule of law is one.

I mentioned that the full DC federal appeals court vacated the unusual 2-1 order in the Michael Flynn matter, a case the majority wrote was “not the unusual case that merited special scrutiny” before automatically dismissing it. There will be a new hearing, on August 11, before the full court, where Flynn’s lawyers and the DOJ have been asked to make the case that Mr. Flynn has no other remedy at law (he does, an appeal, like anyone else).

Trump’s (and the always independent Barr’s) theory, of course, is that if Flynn’s prosecution is dropped as baseless, it proves the entire Mueller investigation was an illegal witch hunt, predicated only on lies, spying and irrational hatred of the new president-elect who did nothing wrong.

This theory would be stronger without the several close associates of Trump’s who were successfully prosecuted for actual federal felonies, without the finding of “sweeping and systematic” Russian electoral intervention on behalf of the Trump campaign, the many contacts his campaign had with Russia, the numerous instances of perjury (for example Roger Stone’s and Paul Manafort’s) intended to hide disclosure of these connections, the several detailed instances of active presidential obstruction of justice that Mueller was unable to exonerate him for. Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, total political hit job!

A.G. Barr said, under oath on Tuesday, that he knew nothing about the re-imprisonment of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen (which a court found was in retaliation for Cohen refusing to give up his first amendment rights regarding his upcoming tell-all book). Barr claimed no knowledge of what the “Probation Department” had done. Then, within two days, the United States (when that party is mentioned in a legal case it means the Department of Justice) quietly dropped its suit to block Michael Cohen from making public comments about his upcoming book. Perjury, Mr. Barr?

The federal reign of terror in anti-Trump cities seems to be shutting down. Trump’s threatened “surge” of overwhelming federal force in “Democrat” cities supposedly overwhelmed by American Carnage, rioting and lawlessness, had a set-back when the Department of Justice negotiated to remove unmarked, unwanted federal troops from Portland.

Unmarked federal troops in unmarked rented cars cannot legally abduct non-violent citizens off the streets of American cities, particularly if they are not making an arrest — especially blocks from the federal site they are supposedly defending. Camo-clad Federal Border Patrol, Homeland Security and Bureau of Prisons agents were snatching nonviolent protesters off the street, into unmarked rent-a-cars, off the streets of Portland. Although a federal judge threw out the Oregon Attorney General’s request for a temporary restraining order (for her “lack of standing”) as a legal matter, defending unconstitutional practices could not have ended well for Trump, as much as he would love to violently clamp down nationwide in the run up to his “law and order” second term.

That the president is generally incoherent has not deterred his diehard base, that solid thirty-something percent. In fact, they love his rage against those who stand against “making America great again” by turning the clock back to 1953, before the hated anti-segregation ruling by that activist court in Brown v. Board of Education. Rage is one thing, coherence is another, and actually making good on his enraged, incoherent threats is another. Here’s a short recent list:

POSTPONING THE 2020 ELECTION???

One of the nation’s top ultra-conservative ideologues, co-founder of the ultra-conservative legal fraternity The Federalist Society, a man who supported Trump, railed against Mueller, defended Trump against impeachment, wrote (in the hated New York Times, no less) that this attempt (???? remember the mainly exculpatory question marks in the president’s hortatory tweet) to postpone the election is an impeachable offense that merits Trump’s removal from office.

ASSIGNMENTS FOR AG BARR:

Shut the Flynn case down (ongoing, not so easy, apparently), stop Michael Cohen’s fucking book (the book will come out, Cohen may talk, tweet, facebook about it as much as he likes), defend use of federal force against protesters (a draw at the moment), argue that in some cases a presidential campaign may accept foreign help (a few seconds later Barr was forced to admit this is illegal in every instance), defend the commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence after what Barr called a “righteous prosecution” (fairly weak job, Bill), defend why the president is not being investigated for the quid pro quo of rewarding the silence of a convicted perjurer who protected Trump with his lies and a pugnacious refusal to talk, something you told the Senate at your confirmation hearing would be a criminal act (eh… “why should I?”)

COVID-19 HOAX:

Disclaim federal responsibility and blame governors for not controlling covid-19 pandemic (many did much, much better than the president on this, Trump loyalist governors consistently do the worst).

The Red Zone, where the virus is raging out of control, is comprised of mostly Red States, oddly enough. US number one worldwide, by a wide margin, in covid-19 infections, rate of spread and deaths.

Anti-maskers (like our president) are winning political arguments among Trump’s base (they can’t lose arguing among their base), but are also spreading the pandemic. Co-founder of Blacks for Trump, Herman Cain, died of covid-19 almost certainly contracted at Trump’s maskless indoor Tulsa Rally. See also, Louie Gohmert. See also Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s lawsuit against Atlanta’s female, black mayor for mandating the wearing of masks in the city she’s responsible for.

Trump, while touting victory over the virus and calling for defunding any schools that do not reopen, recently cancelled planned maskless Republican National Convention.

He also made a sheepish pronouncement that maybe wearing masks is patriotic, who knows???

CONDEMNING LAWLESSNESS and the “radical left”:

Ignore the actual reason for the nationwide protests, longtime police murder of unarmed civilians, mainly “nonwhite” citizens, pretend they’re riots, the work of violent outside agitators. Claim that “if the governors won’t control antifa, anarchists and violent left-wing fascist mobs the federal government will!” Give some illegal orders, threaten much worse, claim victory, then back down.

The only people we know of prosecuted for fomenting violence at protests seem to be White Nationalists intent on spreading Trump’s message that angry, scary Negroes and their insane radical leftist supporters are OUT OF CONTROL! Where are the arrests and prosecutions of all these left-wing agitators we keep hearing about?

VOTE BY MAIL

The position that mail-in voting results in massive fraud is a Trump talking point only, debunked by every actual study of voter fraud (extremely rare by any voting method). Trump’s active suppression of mail-in votes is a real concern, and there’s no way to paint it otherwise.

Trump has appointed an unqualified Trump donor ($2,000,000 to Trump and other Republicans since 2016), Louis DeJoy, to be Postmaster General. The already hobbled Post Office (forced ince 2006 by Republican lawmakers to fully fund its retiree health insurance 75 years into the future– wiping out modest profits and putting the USPS in debt) is now run by a man who will do whatever is necessary to limit the effectiveness of mail-in voting. You can read more about this peach of a man in the Chinese Communist mouthpiece FORBES.

I decided to take a break and learn a bit more about jazz guitar. Here’s what I got.

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 1.44.22 PM.png

I have only one question. WHY THE HELL HASN’T SHE BEEN LOCKED UP YET????!!!!

As General Michael Flynn chanted from the stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention: “LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!!!” What are we waiting for, America?!!!

A real puzzler

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 5.36.40 PM.png

Image from internet ad [1]

Now for some basic math to refute one small bit of Bill Barr’s typical, deliberately misleading, in this case racist, sophistry. Bill Barr shot back the other day, while brazening his way through questioning by members of the House Judiciary Committee, that more unarmed “whites” than unarmed “blacks” have been killed by police this year. 11 “whites” versus 8 “blacks”. Fair enough, if those numbers are true, unless you weigh them by proportion of each group in the population. Basic fairness requires this extra step.

Let’s grab our calculators and do the basic math. “Blacks,” google tells us, comprise 13.4% of the US population. “Whites” make up 60.4%. If you divide 60.4 by 13.4 you get 4.507– there are 4.5 “whites” to every “black” in the country.

For an accurate picture of which unarmed group is more frequently killed by police, multiply white fatalities by that number. A proportionally equivalent number of “white” deaths, you will see, is 49.57. Add one, to make Barr’s statement true, and you get 50 “white” deaths at the hands of police, to be strictly accurate about who gets killed more often by our law enforcement officers. If more than fifty unarmed “whites” had been killed by police this year, then proportionally, more “whites” than “blacks” would have been killed by police so far this year.

Another way of putting it — if “blacks” were 60.4% of the population, instead of 13.4%, the number of unarmed “blacks” killed by police would be over 30, quite a bit more than 11.

We can easily see, without our adding machines, that “blacks” are about four times more likely than “whites” to be killed by the police in this country, according to Barr’s numbers. Barr also stated that police killings of unarmed civilians was declining.

For some reason, the New York Times fact check gives us this conclusion about Barr’s statement, in a report entitled Barr Repeats Trump Falsehoods in Congressional Testimony :

Dig, first, this buried gem, and then read the rest of the Times’s fearless, yet acrobatically evenhanded, partial rebuttal of Mr. Barr’s claim.

Research has also shown that in the United States, on average, the probability of being shot by a police office for someone who is Black and unarmed is higher than for someone who is white and armed.

As for the rest of Barr’s sworn comment, which echoed Trump’s “technically accurate but misleading claim”

This is misleading.

Mr. Barr accurately cited a database of police shootings compiled by The Washington Post. But the raw numbers obscure the pronounced racial disparity in such shootings. (The statement was also an echo of Mr. Trump’s technically accurate, but misleading claim that “more white” Americans are killed by the police than Black Americans.)

When factoring in population size, Black Americans are killed by the police at more than twice the rate as white Americans, according to the database. Research has also shown that in the United States, on average, the probability of being shot by a police officer for someone who is Black and unarmed is higher than for someone who is white and armed.

Nationwide, the number of police shootings has remained steady since independent researchers began tracking them — declining in major cities, but increasing in suburbs and rural areas.

When Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, took issue with Mr. Barr’s presentation of the data, Mr. Barr responded, “You have to adjust it by, you know, the race of the criminal.” But some research has shown that even when controlling for the demographics of those arrested, there are still racial disparities in the use of police force.

[1] Who Is Better: Trump or Obama

We’re Conducting a National Opinion Poll & Asking You:
Who is The Better President?
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An affirmation of hope — and faith in the rule of law

Another piece of hope-affirming news, and it helps to look at each one closely in these roiling times, for strength and resolve in the days ahead:

Appeals Court Erases Order to End Michael Flynn Case, Sets New Arguments

As a lawyer, this means a lot to me — and I read the decision carefully at the time. The decision federal appeals Judge Neomi Rao (Trump appointee 2019 — chosen off the Federalist Society list) wrote ordering Judge Emmett Sullivan to immediately dismiss the case against Michael Flynn was legally incoherent; it ignored the central question of law she was required to answer. The full court vacated her order yesterday — poof! The dissenting judge in Judge Rao’s 2-1 ruling was 100% right and pointed out the incoherence of Judge Rao’s decision clearly. The full DC Appeals court asked for briefs and arguments on August 11, 2020 from Flynn and the DOJ to show the dissent was wrong (it wasn’t).

The rule of law sometimes wins out — Trump almost always loses in court– though the system allows him to endlessly delay complying with the court using borderline frivolous appeals, as he’s done since he drank in the legal stalling tactic from Roy Cohn’s withered tit back in the 1970s. In the end, Judge Sullivan may have to dismiss Flynn’s case, but not before unpacking a lot more about the sudden about face by the DOJ and how it worked closely with Flynn’s defense team — also, possible perjury or contempt charges against the “good man” Flynn for swearing he lied to the FBI (and on his security clearance application where he hid his paid work for Turkey) and then swearing he never lied.

Barr wants to nullify Flynn’s charges to underscore that the whole Mueller probe (the criminal “Russiagate” witch hunt HOAX) was a house of cards, without any legal predicate, built on vicious Never-Trumper lies and treacherous Obama spies. If Barr can throw out every prosecution Mueller brought, while investigating the investigators in what he calls a “travesty” launched with criminal intent — nothing to see! No grounds for the illegal impeachment either!

Bravo to Emmett Sullivan for calling bullshit and standing his ground! Bravo to Merrick Garland and the rest of the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for vacating Judge Rao’s order and setting a hearing to decide the case based on the law.

Law still matters in the United States of America, until it doesn’t — then we live in a one-party state where the law can be constantly tweaked by unscrupulous partisans lawyers like Barr to make every abuse instantly legal, where the infallible, all-powerful leader truly can rule by fiat, by tweet, where, as in Trump and Barr’s dream for the USA, führerworte haben Gesetzeskraft! (the leader’s word has the force of law).

In a democracy, even with a Federalist Society [1] judge on every seat on the federal judiciary (they are currently about 193 more on the federal bench, after McConnell’s heroics), there are still certain legal principles that can’t be ignored or simply brushed aside. Even by diehard partisan fanatics who want to ignore them. The law still forces them to rule a certain way most of the time.

Case in point, this op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times by one of the founders of the extreme right-wing Federalist Society that has been untiring in its efforts to make the US a one-party state. The op-ed is entitled “Trump Might Try To Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional.”:

I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016. I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller. I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump’s impeachment.

But I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

[1] Donors to the Federalist Society have included Google, Chevron, Charles G. and David H. Koch; the family foundation of Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Mercer family. By 2017, the Federalist Society had $20 million in annual revenue.

Prominent Members of the Federalist Society:

  1. ^ Roberts was at one point reported to have been a member of the society, but Roberts’s membership status was never definitively established. Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said Roberts “has no recollection of ever being a member.”[40] Following the report, the Washington Post located the Federalist Society Lawyers Division Leadership Directory, 1997–1998, which listed Roberts as a member of the Washington chapter steering committee;[41] however, membership in the society is not a necessary condition for being listed in its leadership directory.[41]