Barr has already been a presidential consigliere

It should not be forgotten, in thinking about William Barr’s long, deliberately misleading infomercial about the alleged non-findings of the Mueller report, (let us not mention his absurd statement about Obama’s “spying” on the Trump presidential campaign or his parroting of other Trump talking points) that the pathetic porcine puppet’s first short term as Attorney General, under George H. W. Bush, was marked by the same kind of toadying personal service to a president threatened by the administration of justice.

George H. W. Bush was defeated in his re-election bid by upstart Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.   Part of the reason Bush lost the election is that the DOJ announced, late in the presidential campaign, that Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Defense (while Bush was Vice President), was going to finally be tried for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.   This prosecution had been delayed for years, but Weinberger was finally indicted by a grand jury in June, 1992, on two counts of perjury and a count of Obstruction of Justice.   The DOJ announced that the trial would begin some time after the presidential election.   Suddenly there was a lot of talk about the role Bush, a former CIA director, may have played in the scandal, a role Bush had always denied playing.

Weinberger was a note taker, and had detailed contemporaneous notes of meetings where the plan to secretly sell arms to the Ayatollahs of Iran, at inflated prices, to fund anti-communist death squads in Central America, in violation of American law, was worked out.   Bush knew he would be in trouble if his attendance at these meetings became public, since he had always denied any knowledge of the meetings that Weinberger had notes of, as he had denied knowledge of the conspiracy.   Weinberger’s notes would become part of the court record and likely made public, during the discovery phase of the trial.  

When Bush lost the election, with Clinton capturing 370 Electoral College votes (almost as many as Trump’s self-proclaimed historic all-time high of 304 in 2016) there was a sudden urgency to do something about Weinberger and his notes.   In late November, very conscious of the threat to his legacy, possibly even his freedom, he elevated William Barr to Attorney General for the very short tenure of his remaining presidential term.  Within a few weeks, Barr helped Bush preemptively pardon Caspar Weinberger– before Weinberger could stand trial for perjury and Obstruction of Justice.  His contemporaneous notes were now a moot point, and just in time.

The pathetic porcine puppet also consulted on the pardons of organizer and funder of right wing death squads and convicted perjurer Elliott Abrams (now one of Trump’s top advisors on how to bring freedom and democracy to Venezuela, natch) and the four other remaining Iran-Contra principals.   When Bush and Barr were done, the Iran-Contra scandal was all but erased from the American collective memory.

Barr was a pathetic porcine puppet then, though loyal to his master.  He is behaving with as much integrity today as he did the last time he was Attorney General.  The shameless fuck is loyal to the president, though, you have to say that for him.

A tranche of “nothing to see” in Mueller report

Robert Mueller, in the Volume II executive summary, after giving summaries of numerous shady dealings the president had with subordinates, using the power of his office, and his gigantic personality, to intimidate, pressure, attack, cajole, offer pardons, etc. (I offer but one example), writes this (emphasis mine):

Conduct involving Michael Cohen. The President’s conduct towards Michael Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive, changed from praise for Cohen when he falsely minimized the President’s involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project, to castigation of Cohen when he became a cooperating witness. From September 2015 to June 2016, Cohen had pursued the Trump Tower Moscow project on behalf of the Trump Organization and had briefed candidate Trump on the project numerous times, including discussing whether Trump should travel to Russia to advance the deal. In 2017, Cohen provided false testimony to Congress about the project, including stating that he had only briefed Trump on the project three times and never discussed travel to Russia with him, in an effort to adhere to a “party line” that Cohen said was developed to minimize the President’s connections to Russia. While preparing for his congressional testimony, Cohen had extensive discussions with the President’s personal counsel, who, according to Cohen, said that Cohen should “stay on message” and not contradict the President. After the FBI searched Cohen’s home and office in April 2018, the President publicly asserted that Cohen would not “flip,” contacted him directly to tell him to “stay strong,” and privately passed messages of support to him. Cohen also discussed pardons with the President’s personal counsel and believed that if he stayed on message he would be taken care of. But after Cohen began cooperating with the government in the summer of 2018, the President publicly criticized him, called him a “rat,” and suggested that his family members had committed crimes.

Overarching factual issues. We did not make a traditional prosecution decision about these facts, but the evidence we obtained supports several general statements about the President’s conduct.

Several features of the conduct we investigated distinguish it from typical obstruction-of-justice cases. First, the investigation concerned the President, and some of his actions, such as firing the FBI director, involved facially lawful acts within his Article II authority, which raises constitutional issues discussed below. At the same time, the President’s position as the head of the Executive Branch provided him with unique and powerful means of influencing official proceedings, subordinate officers, and potential witnesses—all of which is relevant to a potential obstruction-of-justice analysis.  Second, unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. Although the obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President’s intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct. Third, many of the President’s acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view. That circumstance is unusual, but no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws. If the likely effect of public acts is to influence witnesses or alter their testimony, the harm to the justice system’s integrity is the same.     

Although the series of events we investigated involved discrete acts, the overall pattern of the President’s conduct towards the investigations can shed light on the nature of the President’s acts and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent. In particular, the actions we investigated can be divided into two phases, reflecting a possible shift in the President’s motives. The first phase covered the period from the President’s first interactions with Comey through the President’s firing of Comey. During that time, the President had been repeatedly told he was not personally under investigation. Soon after the firing of Comey and the appointment of the Special Counsel, however, the President became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an obstruction-of-justice inquiry. At that point, the President engaged in a second phase of conduct, involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. Judgments about the nature of the President’s motives during each phase would be informed by the totality of the evidence.

In other words, NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!!

Don’t go for the head fakes! Keep your eye on the ball.

We have the report right here, summarized by the investigator, in clear, easy to read prose.   Read the summary of Volume II.   It is not long, and is very lightly redacted (harm to ongoing matters– things still under investigation by other authorities).   Then you will know exactly what Mueller found.   He gives example after example of acts by the president that meet all the legal requirements for obstruction of justice:  criminal intent, an obstructive act and a nexus to a proceeding.

You can read exactly what Mueller found, or go for the clumsy head fake of the pathetic, porcine puppet who lied and distorted the findings.  Barr told America (and the world) that Trump had fully cooperated with the investigation and gave unfettered access to all requested materials.   He said this even though Trump’s lawyers had him answer Mueller’s interrogatories with the standard “I don’t recall” 38 times  in his written answers, refused to answer follow-up written questions, refused to be interviewed by Mueller, as if Trump had not made several attempts to fire Mueller, had not constantly attacked Mueller and the investigation and mocked it as a partisan witch hunt, continually.   A small oversight by the pathetic porcine puppet, it appears, done, one supposes, to color the perception of the lazy American public, a public always willing to have confirmed for them what we already believe.   This Mueller witch hunt report is the work of traitorous Commies trying to bring down the greatest president in American history!

Take a look at the fixed, uneasy expression on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s face, standing behind the pathetic porcine puppet as Trump’s loyal consigliere A.G. explains live on worldwide television why this damning report contains nothing to see here.

You can read the details, set out in black and white, and make your own decision about how damaging this is to Trump or wring your hands about the political optics of impeaching an openly corrupt president who projectile shits on every norm, and thrills a large number, a solid 39% of Americans, by doing so.   It could hurt Democrats in 2020!!  It could backfire, like the Clinton blow job impeachment did for Republicans in 1996!!!   This impeachment is about defending the rule of law as it applies to a Unitary Executive, even one as infallible as our current POTUS.

The only thing to fear is this president not being held accountable for countless cruel, stupid and corrupt acts done with the powers of the most powerful office in the world.  I am encouraged as momentum gathers among elected Democrats to hear what all the witnesses to the president’s attempts to obstruct justice have to say, to subpoena relevant documents, to press on with holding this never-accountable deadbeat winner accountable, finally.  Even Speaker Pelosi, (I call her Nancy), has started to come around, saying now that impeachment is “on the table” if the facts lead us there.

I love what Elizabeth Warren had to say about impeachment.  It is a matter of principle, beyond political calculation, if we are to defend our democratic tradition. Let the American people hear all the facts (like who is involved in the 12 criminal investigations Mueller handed off– every one of which has been redacted by the pathetic porcine puppet).   Hold hearings, on television.   Then let the Republicans, one after another, have to decide which way to vote, after hearing the overwhelming evidence of the president’s guilt.  

In the face of mounting public sentiment that the case against the man has been shown conclusively, let them pretend he is still innocent.   If they stand up and vote to acquit Trump, after making a political calculus, it will be a vote they will carry, like a scarlet letter, for the rest of their lives.   Good for them!

fueled by partisan outrage

It’s worth taking a closer look at what the pathetic porcine puppet said during his forty minute spin session on national TV before he released the redacted Mueller report on the investigation into Trump’s alleged misconduct.  Let’s take this part of his long statement apart, it’s rich in inventive detail.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability.

Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.   Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

President Trump faced an unprecedented situation, Mr. Barr points out sympathetically.  Just because Mr. Trump was constantly sending out angry tweets that made him look guilty, changing his story constantly, repeatedly lying, raging, acting like a guilty man, he was unfairly attacked by his enemies.

Fair enough.

Also, there was this vicious inquiry into his associates, very few of whom were actually indicted and convicted of serious crimes.  These crimes, outside of the financial ones, were crimes of loyalty to the president, in the cases where only a small handful of his closest former associates lied to Congress and the FBI.   Can you really even call lying out of loyalty a  crime?   Just because some of his closest advisors are heading to prison, and others cooperated with the investigation in exchange for staying out of prison, is no reason to believe there is anything dirty or unethical about the president himself.

There was no collusion.  Fair enough.  Mr. Trump’s personal style is chaos, he is not a collaborative leader, he does not listen to advisors or work well with others.  His mother once noted with a chuckle that little Donald never played well with other kids, he always played to win, even in the playroom, even against his baby brother.

Here is my favorite part, a completely meaningless piece of lawyerly bullshit:

And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.

OK, Mueller provided ample evidence (much of it seen in real time by every American not turning away in horror from all media coverage of this unique president) that Mr. Trump was sincerely frustrated and angry.   Now we know, informed by Mr. Barr, that Trump’s belief was sincere that they couldn’t lay a finger on him because he was innocent, innocent, innocent!  

So his anger was righteous anger, according to Barr, similar to Boof Kavanaugh’s righteous, perfectly understandable rip-snorting, tearful temper tantrum when confronted with  credible testimony describing how he, while a blackout drunk in an elite Catholic prep school, had traumatized at least one teenaged girl while he was in a drunken state.    That allegation was thoroughly investigated in five days by the FBI and, naturally, no corroboration of the woman’s story was found among the small handful of people interviewed by the FBI.   Nothing to see there, unless you are fueled by pent-up rage over being a loser!

Since the president sincerely knew the  Mueller investigation was totally unfair, a witch hunt, knew that he was totally blameless, perhaps the most blameless president in history, he was absolutely right and morally entitled to be frustrated and angry, according to Barr who says that Mueller “acknowledged” all this.  

What?   Get the fuck out of here.

Mueller was, according to Barr, working for the president’s political opponents, even though Mueller belongs to the same political party as the president and the president’s party was in power when Mueller was appointed– and they oversaw his investigation.

I guess Barr’s point was that since Trump sincerely believed he was completely innocent he would have had to have been Jesus Christ himself not to react in frustration and rage, on a several times a day basis, at all the speculation in the press about how guiltily he was acting.   How would YOU feel if YOU were totally innocent and subjected to that kind of vicious, partisan witch hunt?  And the media would not shut up about it!!!  Wouldn’t you instruct your people to shut that shit down, if you had the power to ?!!! Sure you would.

Last bit of great shit from the pathetic, porcine puppet:

Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

This statement is what used to be called a lie, since it asserts things that are not, strictly speaking, true.  The White House merely refused to answer follow-up written questions from the Mueller team, after the president’s lawyers submitted incomplete written answers (that Trump claimed, ludicrously, to have “written” himself)  the first time.   The White House legal team (of which Barr is now, unaccountably, a member) made it clear that they would not let Trump, a habitual, reflexive,well-documented liar, walk into a “perjury trap” by talking to Mueller (taking the lesson of what happened to perjurer slick Willie Clinton, a much more sophisticated, articulate man– and a trained lawyer–  than the smartest president in human history, the man we have now).  The access was fettered, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the president was continually ordering subordinates to bend or break the law, to stifle the investigation and create the public perception that Mueller had absolutely no grounds to pursue his partisan inquiry into a president who, among other suspicious official acts, innocently met with Vladimir Putin twice, alone, with only a translator, and ordered the American translator to destroy his notes of the meeting he translated.  Nothing to fucking see here!

That’s what the pathetic porcine puppet would call full transparency.  The president was sincere in his belief that he could get away with it.   And he did!   Proving, as always, that Mr. Trump’s sincere belief is the best measure of everything in his world, a world the rest of us just live in.

Pathetic porcine puppet

 

The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

Robert Mueller III, end of his executive summary of Obstruction of Justice findings   (read entire unredacted summary here)

William Barr (the titular “pathetic porcine puppet”, in the accurate, alliterative phrase tweeted by constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe), current U.S. Attorney General, our nation’s recently appointed top law enforcement official, pretends that Mueller concluded no such thing.  His spin is an evidence-avoiding counter-conclusion that pleases the boss, at whose pleasure Barr serves, the only thing a loyal consigliere must consider, how to protect the boss no matter what.               

All Barr had for the American public was “nothing to see here” and the indignant opinion that the president was absolutely right to feel “frustrated, angry” and under attack by a politically motivated investigation that found “nothing to see here.”  In addition, the president was betrayed by a long succession of disloyal rats, their leaks fueling the baseless investigation.    Here is what he said in his long, public address to all Americans prior to releasing the report, this was apparently the money shot:

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability.

Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks. [1]  Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

Mueller, you will see, found many troubling things about our angry, frustrated, traitor-betrayed president’s actions over the last two years.  You can read the highlights for yourself in the virtually un-redacted summary here.

There have always been Americans, often the greatest beneficiaries of the unfair status quo, who believe the president should be an all-powerful ruler.   The theory of the Unitary Executive has been put forward, by people like the aptly named Dick Cheney, as an argument that a democracy needs a strong chief executive whose powers cannot be unduly restrained by elected officials in Congress or political appointees in the judiciary branch.  

In practice this “theory” comes from the reasonable fear that the will of a unilaterally ideological president could be counteracted, even hamstrung, by other elected representatives, by judges, absent the special privileges of the Unitary Executive.   It would be disastrous for the interests of the ultra-privileged if poor, despised Americans could vote in huge numbers, in fair elections, to elect people to represent their interests, instead of the interests of the organized super-wealthy who currently fund the election of our presidents.   History shows it’s easier to elect one cynical bought and paid for corrupt fucker than the many needed to control Congress (though, clearly, most of them are for sale too).

The Unitary Executive is good for things like unilaterally dismantling social programs that don’t benefit the rich, removing protections to small investors, consumers, vulnerable earthlings trying to breathe and eat food that is not poisoned.   The Unitary Executive is the counter-theory to “checks and balances”.   The president, under this view, is closer to a king, dictator, strongman or a CEO who also owns the company and has his children/heirs as the board of directors, than to the presidency envisioned by our founding fathers and embodied in the presidency of George Washington, setting the tone for a president bound by law and norms, a cooperative executive carrying out the democratically expressed will of the people, decorously.

This toxic orange turd who presently occupies the Oval Office is a big believer in the theory that he should have the final word on everything that happens in the nation that swept him into power with a historic mandate of around 80,000 electoral college votes.   Otherwise, it’s unfair to him and bad for democracy!    He gets frustrated and angry, as his current attorney general said defending his master’s indefensible attempts to end a lawful inquiry into his overtly suspicious and corrupt-appearing dealings, when people he attacks attack him back.  How dare they?!!!  He is the president, not them!!!

Like one of history’s most famous insane dictators, a man who would have celebrated his 120th birthday yesterday, had he not brought ruin and shame to his nation and almost destroyed it before poisoning his wife and dog and blowing his own brains out, Mr. Trump demands absolute personal loyalty from the people he hires.   Mr. Hitler required an oath of personal loyalty to himself, not to Germany, not to the German constitution.  Many were glad and proud to give that loyalty oath, many others were killed for not giving that oath, for not honoring it no matter what.   Tyrants and mobsters have no patience for “rats”.  A rat is a rat is a rat.

The Unitary Executive can order subordinates to violate the law with no fear of consequences (while in office, anyway).  The Department of Justice has issued two opinions, one in 1973 the other in 2000, that the sitting president cannot be the subject of a criminal prosecution.   The second of these DOJ opinions was written after Bill Clinton was tried, during his presidency, for violating a federal statute about workplace harassment when, as governor of Arkansas, he allegedly tried to get an employee to have sex with him.  

The devilish detail there was that it was not a strictly criminal or civil trial but an alleged violation of a federal law, which is why the Supreme Court denied Clinton’s attempt to not stand trial while president.  

Clinton quietly paid the plaintiff a ton of money to end the case against him.   Painted as a slippery, lying bastard during that prosecution, he was then forced into a corner, under oath, by a partisan Independent Counsel, about blow jobs he received in the Oval Office and impeached for perjury when he tried to weasel out of publicly admitting a young intern had fellated him.   For the good of the country, and the protection of future presidents, the DOJ decided again, as they had in 1973, that sitting presidents should not be put on trial, except by the Senate following articles of impeachment from the House.

The founding fathers, who extreme conservatives are fond of citing as secular prophets similar in stature to the divinely inspired men who wrote the Bible, wisely designed a government of three co-equal branches, to prevent any one branch from imposing tyranny on the country.  A system of checks and balances, it is often called.  

The president is the executive who carries out legislation reflecting the will of the People, expressed through their elected representatives, with the safeguard (created by Justice John Marshall in an early Supreme Court decision) of a Supreme Court to decide, unappealably, whether the challenged law complies with our Constitution.

Now we come to William Barr, our current Attorney General, Laurence Tribe’s “pathetic porcine puppet.”   Tribe added that Barr’s partisan behavior as Attorney General has been shameful.   His lying, wildly spinning introduction of the redacted Mueller report was disgraceful.

Barr openly auditioned  (skip to section below the illustration in the link for details) for the job by publicly offering to do the equivalent for Mr. Trump of what Monica Lewinsky had done for Mr. Clinton.   He wrote a nineteen page legal memo and sent it to Trump.  The memo stated (falsely) that as a matter of law a president cannot obstruct justice.  The memo described exactly how Barr would defend the president, come what may.   He also wrote several op-eds supporting some of the president’s more grotesque, and legally dubious, policies.

The point is, even if William Barr were not a corpulent corporatist (and I’m not one to call a fat bastard fat) even if he was a thin, dapper, handsome man, he would still be a pathetic porcine puppet.   He made it clear to our simple-minded, if cunning, president, that he’d be happy to have POTUS’s hand up his ass and let the president do whatever the president needed done to carry out his historically important work.   Personal loyalty, uber alles.

Barr could have released Mueller’s entire executive summary the same day he put out his summary letter (that he later denied had been a summary) stating that Mueller had cleared the president of all wrong-doing.   Mueller’s executive summary of his investigation ends with these lines (and again, barely a phrase of Mueller’s summary needed to be redacted by the pathetic porcine puppet):

The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

CONCLUSION

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.

Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

(emphasis mine.   From Mueller’s excellent, clear, short summary of Volume II on obstruction which I urge you to read in its entirety here)

 

Barr could have released Mueller’s entire executive summary the same day he put out his misleading, distracting, falsely exonerating, non-summary summary– again, virtually NOTHING in the summary was redacted by the loyal, pathetic, porcine puppet (I counted 4 redactions, “harm to ongoing matters” in Part I and 3 such redactions in Part II).  Bill Barr, and I say this with all due respect, is a fucking disgrace to the law and to our tradition of democracy.   Makes Jeff Sessions (a weasel too racist to be appointed to the federal bench, imagine how racist that is!) look like a man of integrity, a man with at least nominal respect for the norms of American democracy.

Read the executive summary of the obstruction case against Mr. Trump.  It is not long and is an easy read, the facts clearly laid out.   As soon as Mr. Trump felt under threat by the Mueller investigation, the facts show, he went into overdrive, ordering subordinates to violate the spirit (and sometimes letter) of the law to protect him from the groundless witch hunt that made him so angry and so frustrated for so long– as it would have anyone, according to the pathetic porcine puppet apologist.

In the end, not without some irony, president Fuckface’s presidency may have been saved by subordinates who refused to carry out his orders to commit illegal acts.   By not carrying out those orders, detailed in Mueller’s summary, they may have prevented the actual crime of Obstruction of Justice.

That said, there are many, many reasons to impeach the self-serving, corrupt, self-dealing imbecile president.   They are outlined beautifully here.

As the author of that article stresses, having the votes for impeachment and removal from office is not the only consideration.   Impeachment is the only legal way Americans have to hold a corrupt demagogue in high office to account for the harm he is doing to democracy, our standing in the world, and the world itself.  

At the very least, impeachment would show that America will not tolerate this kind of abusive public behavior in our president.   It will place the case before the American people, keep the indefensible fuck on the defensive, angry and frustrated  (and rightfully so, and good for the loser)  and hunkering down against an army of disloyal, leaking, ass-covering rat traitors.   And, fuck him. And the pathetic porcine puppet he is trying to ride off on.

 

[1]  I wonder if Boof Kavanaugh helped Mr. Barr with his remark, the rhetorical style and rhythm of this:

“And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

is reminiscent of these immortal lines, the winning argument of Boof Kavanaugh, when he cried and blustered his way on to the Supreme Court:

20190422_025145.jpg

A few words about liberation

I will practice saying this in an anodyne way, in a manner designed to avoid controversy, to provoke no political knee jerks or piss anybody off.  [1]

Tonight we Jews celebrate our people’s emergence from slavery to freedom, from bondage to liberty.  It is literally a celebration of liberation that requires each of us to imagine herself as a slave and to consider and commit ourselves to the duties of free people towards those who are oppressed.   We are commanded to identify with the slave, the oppressed, the victimized.  It is very, very hard to imagine the pain of slavery if you have never experienced it.

Frederick Douglass wrote about how agonizing it was to take leave of his loved ones forever when he escaped from a slave state to a free state and became, for the first time, a free human being like any other.   He commented that had it not been for these bonds of love, and the heart-crushing thought of never seeing, or even hearing from, any of your loved ones again in this world, thousands more slaves would have escaped.

We cannot dream of what we cannot imagine. The idea of something better comes first.  The vision, born in discontent, is what spurs us to action when we seek to change our condition, change the world.  At one time many ideas we all accept today were unthinkable: abolition of American slavery, the end of unlimited child labor, gay marriage, to name just three that spring to mind.  

Each of these common injustices were accepted by most people for centuries as just part of the legal and moral landscape, however unfair some may have privately agreed these things were.  The Constitution protected slavery, after all, there was no law that said children couldn’t be worked as virtual slaves without no limitation on hours or working conditions, homosexuals were long considered deviants to be punished for their sexual preference.  Today we see these things much differently, and laws were made to ensure these changes were enforced, only because, after a long, determined, principled struggle in each case, a more just idea took root in our society.

A vision of a better way always comes first.  What we can’t imagine, or name, is impossible to work towards.  The firm idea of how intolerable an injustice is must take root before any change can begin.  Before we can take steps to end oppression we need to name it, analyze it, understand it, form effective strategies to defeat it.  We also need to imagine and describe the end goal we have in mind.  

The slave dreaming of escaping, getting rich and buying slaves of his own is no dream at all, it is just more of the same.    

I’m not the only person thinking this way, that we need to dream actively of what we want to become.   Check out this beautiful vision of a better world, by several women I already admired greatly (and a couple of guys too, apparently).

 

[1] Tomorrow I’ll go back to business as usual, fuck this anodyne shit.  I  will thoroughly dissect pathetic porcine puppet Bill Barr’s sickeningly misleading, ass-kissing, partisan spin on Mueller’s report, the executive summary of which ends:

The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

CONCLUSION

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

 

(from Mueller’s excellent, clear, short summary of Volume II on obstruction which I urge you to read in its entirety here)

Hey, Avooma Veeny!

(large print edition)

When my sister was thirteen or fourteen she walked through the room and Pop, mischief twinkling in his blue eyes, said “Hey, Abby, I like your bayzem.”  I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever heard and seeing me laughing, he began howling too.  You should have seen my sister’s face.  

He later defended his innocent remark by saying that bayzem means “broom” in Yiddish.  He shrugged. My grandmother confirmed that a bayzem was indeed a broom.  It was nothing and nothing came of it.  But it created a stir when he said it, for sure.

He liked this, he had a mischievous side that he had to keep under wraps most of the time.   It was cool to play this way with the grandchildren sometimes.   Sure his wife and daughter would give him some shit about it, but it was worth it.   He also loved speaking bilingual non sequitars, repurposing a word or phrase in one language to make no sense or relate to anything, except for the sound, in another.    

He was there when we brought Winnie home from the Brumby’s.   The Brumbys were a Scottish couple who bred West Highland Terriers (picture Toto from the Wizard of Oz in white).   The papers they prepared for Winnie referred to her as a West Highland Puppy Bitch.  My sister and I had a lot of laughs reading that off of her papers.   She was a wonderful dog, my father’s favorite, I have to think.    I have a great photo of her lying on my father’s chest, his arm over her, as he naps on the couch, glasses up on his forehead. 

Pop looked over to us playing with Winnie and said “Avooma Veeny!”   He said this playfully, in his deep, rumbling voice, said it more than once that day.   It was clearly a play on Winnie’s name and my sister and I immediately embraced it as one of several pet names for our adorable new puppy bitch.

Years later I would learn that Avooma Veeny was the Russian-Jewish pronunciation of Avraham Aveenu, our father Abraham, the first Jewish monotheist, the guy who was ready to cut his beloved son’s throat because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded him to. Avraham Aveenu, Avooma Veeny, Winnie.  

“Hey, Avooma Veeny!” my grandfather would call from the kitchen table, holding out a small scrap of chicken skin on his wide fingers.   Avooma Veeny would waste no time getting the treat from Pop.