Vigilance, now more than ever

Be strong, watch carefully, and do not look away.

An old friend, as dismayed as I was when powerful late supporters of a hate-mongering bully from reality TV engineered history’s narrowest margin of an Electoral College victory, told me somberly that it was time to be vigilant.   I agreed.

Vigilance got harder and harder as the president with the orangutan hair began furiously flinging his feces everywhere.   Most people I know can’t look at the man, I have a hard time myself.   They have mostly stopped watching the news– too depressing, this unfunny clown has made America what he claimed it was before he climbed on to the tweeting throne: a laughingstock.  Meanwhile, everything Mr. T has touched with those dirty hands of his needs to be power-washed.

All that’s needed for bad things to flourish is for good people to look away.   (There’s a famous cliché to that effect, check it out — #3).   The outrages with this scenery chewing amateur actor happen so furiously, continually, colorfully, that it’s hard to recall yesterday’s outrages, let alone those of a year ago, two years ago.   

This is one of the tragedies of history, as it tumultuously unfolds the pattern is hard to see, until, like the famous frog slowly boiled in the pot, temperature raised one degree at a time as the amphibian relaxes, then sweats, then is parboiled, we’re done.   

The road to totalitarianism is composed of thousands of tiny steps.   If this orange guy had his way he’d do an MBS on every journalist “enemy of the people” and he’s shown us enough deliberate cruelty to assure us all that this is exactly what’s in his heart of hearts.

The following illustration is but one tiny, faltering step on the road to fascism.  It deserves not to be forgotten.  For one thing, it’s a horrifically typical attempted lurch toward tyranny.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the Alabama senator, was a man too racist to be confirmed to the federal bench.   Picture how racist you have to be.   Then, as a senator, he was one of the more rabid anti-immigrant voices in Congress.   When Trump announced his candidacy, the immigrant-hating, racist Sessions was the first “mainstream” politician of any stature to embrace Trump’s then-outlandish candidacy.   The loyal Sessions was the first powerful Republican to appear on stage next to Trump, introduce him at rallies, advocate for him.

The reward for this loyalty was the Attorney General job coveted by Chris Christie (no way – he prosecuted Jared Kushner’s felonious father) and Rudy Giuliani (a notably incoherent dotard with wildly bulging eyes), among others.    Jeff Sessions would become the lawless new president’s chief law enforcement official, in charge of the Department of Justice and all federal prosecutions.   

Note for a moment the irony that the DOJ was formed after the Civil War to prosecute guys like Jeff Sessions, people who advocated keeping the former slaves in their goddamned places, by any means necessary.   

To everyone’s surprise, Sessions showed a glimmer of respect for the law by properly recusing himself when it emerged (under Al Franken’s questioning) that he was involved in discussions with Russians prior to the 2016 election and immediately afterwards.   This recusal infuriated Trump, who saw it as a personal betrayal, of course, because the whole idea of the Attorney General, in his simple view, is to act as the president’s ruthless Roy Cohn and do whatever is needed to allow the president to do whatever he deems henceforth necessary for himself and the nation.  (Especially for himself  — just sayin’.) 

After humiliating him publicly for a long time Trump replaced Sessions with a shameless, brazen, well-spoken lawyerly sycophant, a brutally handsome pile of  human excrement who, apparently, is an expert bagpiper.   Confirmed just in time to control the Mueller report threat, he lied repeatedly to confused and credulous Americans about the troubling findings of the Mueller Report which he falsely spun as a complete exoneration of his unfairly persecuted new boss.  He then waited a month to release Mueller’s own damning summary of his findings and the rest of the long report, in redacted form.

This is all well-known, but recall this small, easily forgotten, detail, reported in Jason Stanley’s excellent How Fascism Works,  (which I am ‘re-reading” as an audiobook).  The ugly incident really underscores what these creatures have been up to from day one.     

It was at the Sessions confirmation hearing, early in 2017.    One of his supporters, fellow Alabama senator Richard Shelby made a patently ridiculous statement in support of his colleague.  He claimed, with a pompous straight face,  that  Sessions’ “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”

This occurred shortly after Trump’s historically well-attended inauguration, the crowd larger than any crowd ever seen anywhere on earth in the history of crowds.   It was a historically well-funded inauguration, anyway.   Donors lined up to hand over bags of cash, to curry favor and gain access to the new president.   No president ever had more money ponied up for a lavish inauguration celebration than the transactional Mr. Trump who openly told wealthy people that they could buy access to him at Mar-A-Largo and other luxurious Trump resorts.  Much of that money is still unaccounted for, of course, but that’s another story for another team of investigative “enemies of the people” to eventually uncover and tell.  [1]

A small group of comically attired protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink were at the Sessions confirmation hearing.   On hearing Shelby’s unintentionally hilarious statement about Sessions’ well-documented commitment to treating everyone fairly, one of them, Desiree Fairooz, burst out laughing.  source

If she’d been sipping milk when Shelby deadpanned his outlandish, whimsical remark, it would have shot out of her nose.   It was a spontaneous reaction to the “abzurd” statement, delivered so perfectly by the outraged gentleman from Alabama in defense of his fellow Alabaman.

It would take almost a year before the DOJ called off the hyperactive federal case it brought against Fairooz for the twin misdemeanors of disrupting Congress” and “unlawful demonstration on Capitol grounds”.   They wanted to lock her up for the maximum one year, at least, and to extract the largest allowable fine.   The DOJ even got a conviction (which was overturned by a judge), before finally admitting defeat and withdrawing the case against her.   (The Trump administration apparently has an impressive 6% victory rate in cases in federal court — all other administrations average a mere 70% win rate in court challenges.)  [2]

As National Public Radio, notorious communist front group, reported on the judge overturning Fairooz’s conviction for laughing at Shelby’s unintended comedy:

Chief Judge Robert Morin decided that the government improperly argued that Fairooz’s laugh alone — not her reaction to being removed from the courtroom — would be enough to find her guilty. Reilly reports:

“Morin said it was ‘disconcerting’ that the government made the case in closing arguments that the laughter in and of itself was sufficient.

” ‘The court is concerned about the government’s theory,’ Morin said. He said the laughter ‘would not be sufficient’ to submit the case to the jury, and said the government hadn’t made clear before the trial that it intended to make that argument.”

source

No doubt, if, during the long prosecution of Fairooz,  Trump mentioned her horrible disrespect at one of his Nuremberg style rallies, the crowd would have erupted with a muscular, full-throated “Lock her up!  Lock her up!”   Anybody with that kind of sick, unAmerican sense of humor is clearly (if you wear the red, or white, baseball cap) a traitor, disloyal, deserving of the full weight of the law, and the most serious and heavy, literally, federal case, against her.

That’s what you use the law and the Department of Justice for, motherfuckers, not investigating a president’s active and ongoing campaign of obstruction– of justice and so-called common decency.  Ask the bagpiper!   He’s the top law enforcement official in the USA.  Nothing to see here, you lying sacks of shit.   USA!   USA!!!!

 

 

{1]  As this excellent podcast does, from their summary of the follow-up podcast about the inauguration:

Elsewhere in the podcast, we report that the inaugural committee was so eager to book space at Trump’s hotel in Washington that it encouraged hotel management to cancel another event — a prayer breakfast — so space would be clear for the inaugural celebration, according to a lawsuit against the committee filed by the reverend who organized the breakfast.

The hotel did briefly cancel the breakfast, invoking “force majeure,” or an act of god. In this case, they predicted civil unrest over the inauguration week.

source

[2]  Federal judge on sudden withdrawal of millions in funding related to teen pregnancy:

“This much is clear: A federal agency that changes course abruptly without a well-reasoned explanation for its decision or that acts contrary to its own regulations is subject to having a federal court vacate its action as ‘arbitrary [and] capricious,’ ” she said in her ruling, quoting the APA’s most recognizable incantation.

source

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