I know that many people hate the combative, lawyerly, always smugly confident partisan Attorney General. I know that I hate this brazen master of double talk who justifies every abuse of power that seems to favor his side in the “Culture War.” Barr is a pugnacious zealot who seemingly has always welcomed a brawl. Like his boss, whose favor he courted while auditioning for the job, Barr will always insist he is right, no matter what the facts might have to say about his side of the argument. I watched about half of his performance in front of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. I have to say, it made me hate him no less.
A note about the unartfully produced 6:38 video montage of the violent, lawless, dangerously insane rioters that was shown as part of Representative Jim Jordan’s (R- Ohio) opening statement. The portrait of terrifying American carnage featured a collage of lying liberal talking heads calling the protests peaceful (as rioters screamed, looted and set things on fire in the background). A long memorial statement by a tearful police widow served as the narration for scenes of looting, disrespect for police, fires, gleeful anger, destruction of property and flag burning (they were miniature flags, but still!). The video was designed to frame Trump and Barr as saviors of a nation threatened by masses of indigenous terrorists, a situation justifying a violent clampdown on all disloyal, lawless cities by federal anti-riot forces. All necessary to preserve American freedom, by the only ones who can protect us from the mayhem of those who hate our freedom.
The emotional video contained at least one clip that was repeated at least twice. A large black looter, with a scary looking head rag, pushing a cart through a vandalized Target.
The repetition of this same clip (less than a minute later) reminded me of Rumsfeld’s claim that there was no widespread looting of Iraqi antiquities after the US imposed chaos on Iraq in “Operation Shock and Awe.”
“They keep showing that one guy carrying out the same vase, over and over, it’s kind of funny…” Rumsfeld chuckled, in more innocent times…
Back to Mr. Barr, who, among other things, after initial misgivings, is now leading the latest attack (in the Supreme Court) on The Affordable Care Act, attacking one of the American laws he is sworn to uphold. He had the DOJ submit an argument on the unconstitutionality of the law that protects health care for millions of otherwise uninsured Americans during a pandemic. Fair is fair. Law is law.
Representative Eric Swalwell, (D- California) cited Barr’s response in his 2019 confirmation hearing that a presidential pardon for someone who was convicted of lying to protect the president would be a crime. Barr confirmed that he said that. Swalwell then turned to the facts of Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence, swapping Stone’s promise of silence about the president’s likely perjury for a pardon (Stone communicated to Trump that he didn’t want a pardon, and that he’d dummied up real good for Trump, in spite of great pressure to talk, and now wanted his prison sentence commuted). Swalwell then asked Barr if he was investigating the president.
Barr said “Why should I?” a more succinct and mature way of answering “I know you are, but what am I? You stupid idiot!”
A more universal and democracy-threatening example of Mr. Barr’s unethical behavior involves the upcoming election. Voter fraud, for example, is a myth used by those who want to stay in power by disenfranchising as many of their political opponents as possible. Every study, even the tireless work of Trump’s own election fraud committee (headed by Trump diehards Mike Pence and Chris Koback), finds that such fraud is extremely rare and statistically insignificant. The kind of voter fraud Trump complains of has certainly never been a factor in any modern American election (unlike, say, sweeping and systematic efforts by Russia to influence a US presidential election).
Yet Barr repeatedly insists, as he did yesterday after taking an oath to be truthful before the House Judiciary Committee, that it’s simply common sense that millions of fraudulent mail-in votes will be cast in 2020. Asked to give evidence for the unfounded assertion, also repeatedly made by Trump, Barr again shook his head at the stupidity of the request and gave a variation on what he dismissively told a CBS reporter in a televised interview a few weeks ago “it’s obvious…”
The results of an MIT study were introduced to refute this plain lie — incidents of fraud in votes by mail were .0006 percent. 6/10,000ths of a percent.
“Says the Chinese Communist Party…” Barr might have muttered, by way of conclusive refutation, if he’d been given a chance to respond.
When confronted with his “get it done!” order to violently clear Lafayette Square of peaceful protesters on June 1, less than an hour before the president’s photo op with the borrowed Bible, Barr snarled that tear gas had never been used. Huh? He then proceeded to argue that pepper spray and pepper balls, that admittedly were used by the heavily armed riot squads to clear the square, are not “chemical irritants.” Leaving aside that at least one empty tear gas canister was photographed at the scene on the day in question, Barr then tried to start an argument that his distinguishing between weaponized chemical irritants was not “semantics”.
As for the documented peacefulness of the protest in front of the White House that he ordered dispersed by force in June, Barr insisted there were rioters threatening the massed riot control forces Barr had assembled to “dominate the streets” after Trump “activated” him. “They started it!!” is a common trope among users of violence. Barr’s claim of threatening violence from the crowd that justified his use of force against peaceful protesters that day has been widely disproved.
When Representative Primila Jayapal (D-Washington) raised Monday’s testimony by National Guard Major Adam DeMarco that the violently dispersed protest had been peaceful, Barr shot back that DeMarco was not “involved in any of the decision making.” Huh?
I was a little dismayed that her follow up was not “Irrelevant response. To be clear, are you claiming that Major DeMarco was not present to witness the events he testified to?” On the other hand, and to her great credit, Representative Jayapal did not allow herself to be distracted for a second by Barr’s feint.
With someone who constantly bobs, weaves, reframes, selectively answers, distorts, misleads, misstates, claims to have no knowledge of things it is highly unlikely he didn’t know about, who snarls and dismissively imposes his will by bullying, punctuating his performance with bursts of sardonic laughter, it is hard not to get distracted while trying to get a straight answer. He is a very muscular and agile Giant Squid, Mr. Barr, not particularly graceful, perhaps, but someone with his power doesn’t need to be.
To save you having to wade through much of yesterday’s disgusting show, I offer this one exchange, with Washington’s Primila Jayapal, to stand in for the rest. I salute Ms. Jayapal for her excellent use of her five minutes.
The discrepancy in Barr’s reactions that Jayapal highlighted was his armed response to the June 1 peaceful protest in D.C. (the photo op fifty minutes later, Mr. Barr ridiculously claimed, was a “coincidence”) and lack of any response to (or even statement about) the protest of armed Trump supporters in Michigan who, two hours after the president’s tweet to “Liberate Michigan” stormed the state capitol guns in hand to demand freedom from the tyranny of quarantine.
The Attorney General claimed to have no knowledge of the violent threats made against the Michigan governor, by an armed and angry group of right-wing, Trump-inspired protesters (complete with Confederate flags and swastikas) demanding freedom from tyranny, the right to do whatever they want during a pandemic.
Sound about right, Bill?
“Yeah, but only the one in DC was federal, you arrogant, smart-ass, culture warrior bitch,” insisted Barr in a quote I just made up, based on his body language, facial expression and dismissive tone in selectively answering Ms. Jayapal’s questions.
It’s not like anyone can reasonably accuse the totally independent Barr of doing everything Mr. Trump wants in every situation. COINCIDENCE. Great minds think alike, prove otherwise, Social Justice Warrior CUCKS.