Business as usual — running out the clock on the American experiment in representative democracy

I’d planned to get back to writing about my father, having had a renewed offer to get the story of my father’s life into printed book form recently.   Business as usual, and what Sekhnet has taken to calling my lack of executive function, has prevented me from starting to reframe the long manuscript into a svelte 250 page telling of the story of my poor father’s life.   I started a post on the reframing several days ago, but it got lost in my morbid fascination with our lying attorney general and the slow-motion horror show that is proceeding in our enraged, ill-informed nation.

My father would be worked up these days too, no doubt, if he were not already an insensate skeleton.  Three and a half months ago Mueller handed his completed report and a fully redacted executive summary to the new A.G., Bagpiper Bill Barr.   Barr, it should be noted, is an accomplished bagpiper.  I believe he may have won bagpiping competitions.   My father, oddly enough, always loved the bagpipes, but I don’t think he would have loved Bagpiper Bill in the least.   Bill is running the clock, like the pro he is.  

My father used to be a bit disgusted to see a college team running out the clock toward the end of a close game, spreading out and passing the ball in a methodical way that made it virtually impossible for the other team to have a chance to score.   Unsportsmanlike, if very pragmatic, to keep passing the ball that way, ahead by a couple of points and freezing the action until the other team desperately fouled, hoping for a rebound and a chance to score, as the clock wound down to 0.

Almost four months ago Robert S. Mueller III handed in his report to the A.G.   Barr spent months spinning the findings with a bravura flair for untruthfulness, is spinning them still.   Mueller was subpoenaed and was scheduled to testify before two House committees on July 17.  Then, as it happened, not enough members of Congress had read his long report, they needed more time to get questions ready for Mueller.  This delay was apparently at the behest of Democrats, looking at their one shot to convince their party’s iron-willed political strategist Speaker Pelosi that what is described in the obstruction section of Mueller’s is much worse than what Nixon was accused of in the third Article of Impeachment against him.

Instead of discussions of the report’s actual contents, partisan spins have been offered on both sides, parsing short cryptical public comments by Mueller, two months ago, and continual, ever flowing less ambiguously exculpatory ones by Barr.  

So Mueller is now scheduled to testify, for three televised hours, on July 24, four months to the day from when Barr presented his misleading conclusions a couple of days after Mueller delivered his finished report, and fully redacted executive summary, to his boss.   Nice way to run four months off the ticking game clock, boys. Mueller will now speak to Congress on July 24, in three hours of must-see TV, and then, two days later, Congress will go on its well-earned six week vacation.

Democracy is on a ventilator — as our unchecked, unmoored president, who came into power on a robust, surgical 78,000 vote victory in several key states to win the Electoral College, has found his Roy Cohn at last — and these public servants are leaving Washington for some nice R & R before resuming their grueling campaign financing schedules in the fall.   My father would dismiss this last bit as within their rights, as business as usual and nothing to get excited about.   People can’t be expected to sacrifice their paid vacations, he would say.

Still, William Barr, the openly corrupt president’s handpicked gunsel, I know would be giving the old man fits.  The latest is that he succeeded in preventing the two former DOJ attorneys who worked with Mueller from voluntarily testifying to Congress.  The NY Times (which the old man read cover to cover every day)  reports:

And, for now at least, Democrats have agreed to proceed without immediate access to Mr. Mueller’s top deputies that had previously been incorporated into his appearance on Capitol Hill. Both House panels had expected to have a chance to question the deputies, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III, in private after Mr. Mueller’s public testimony.

The Justice Department had objected to such questioning and directed the men not to appear. But the reason for the change was not immediately clear.

source

Almost two months ago, Barr told an interviewer on a CBS broadcast:

From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.

source

It’s hard to disagree with Bagpiper Bill.   It’s not as if this president was an illegitimate trickster, born in Kenya and living here under a false birth certificate, the real one disqualifying him from running for president, a secret Muslim with a name so suspiciously like Osama that when Bin Laden was killed virtually every newscaster flubbed the name of the executed terrorist, accidentally saying the president’s name instead.  It’s not as if this president never produced his long form birth certificate and college transcripts (well, let’s forget the college transcripts, SAT scores, everything else–not relevant, NOTHING TO SEE!).  

It’s not as if the opposition party, suddenly controlling both chambers of our bicameral Congress, vowed to block everything the twice popularly elected president proposed and denied him his constitutional right to nominate a candidate to replace a deceased Supreme Court justice.   It’s not as if this president’s successor (if any) will take pains to dismantle every deal this guy makes, void every law he has passed, remove his name from history, except as the biggest loser to ever serve in the office.   That’s how you shatter norms.

Sorry, dad, I know you tried to raise me better, but it’s simply too tempting, up to my nostrils in this swirling, stinking Koch-manufactured sewage, to simply say: fuck you, Barr  (and the fucking McConnell you rode in on).

 

 

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